Stay calm and cool to protect your heart health

Our emotions can affect our heart health a lot.

Research from Johns Hopkins and other research centers have shown that people who feel angry often and fail to deal with it well are more likely to have heart problems, including heart attacks.

In addition, the risk of heart attack was almost five times higher in the two hours after an angry outburst, and the risk of stroke increased three times.

Generally, the more intense or frequent the blowups, the higher your heart disease risks.

Scientists from Johns Hopkins explain that anger can cause an increased production of stress hormones called catecholamines.

These hormones increase blood pressure and play a role in the form of artery-clogging plaque, which over a long time can cause coronary artery disease.

According to Ilan Wittstein, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, the harmful effects of anger can also happen very quickly.

The sudden surge of the hormones during anger may lead to heart problems such as heart attacks, lethal heart rhythms and rapid weakening of the heart muscle.

He suggests that people do the following four things to stay calm and cool for their heart health:

Be assertive, not aggressive

It is possible to defend yourself and make your feelings known without shouting, pointing fingers, making threats and shaking your fist.

Exaggerated emotional responses may not help make your point or getting your way. In contrast, they may just make the other person defensive, too.

Use relaxation tools and skills

Tools like deep breathing can help you in the heat of the moment. Meditation, yoga and mindfulness training also can help you relax in general.

Control other heart disease risk factors

People who are easy to get angry need to control their other risk factors for heart disease.

The risk factors include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol.

Ask your doctor for help

People with a history of heart disease and trouble managing anger should ask their doctors for help.

Some medicines, such as beta-blockers, may reduce the risk of a heart attack.

It is also helpful to take some anger-management classes to control emotions.

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