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Can Anger Cause High Blood Pressure?
27 Mar. 2015

angryAnger is a powerful human emotion that arises from feelings of annoyance, hurt, frustration or disappointment. It can range from a slight irritation to a strong range and can be influenced by the person’s emotional make-up, view of life and various circumstances. Uncontrolled anger can be destructive for both the subject and the object of anger.

Anger places a great burden on the cardiovascular system by increasing blood pressure and heart rate. Arteries constrict causing blood pressure to rise and the heart rate to go up. During an outburst of anger, the heart rate goes up to 180 beats per minute compared to the regular 80 beats. The blood pressure rises to 220 to 130 or higher, compared to normal readings of 120 to 80. At the same time there happen other physical and chemical changes in the body. The adrenal gland produces high amounts of the stress hormones – adrenaline and cortisol. The body uses sugar extremely fast, creating sugar deficiency.

Acute anger can promote clot formation. Our body knows that it is in a fighting mode in which it can be injured and bleeding may occur. Thus it releases chemicals to coagulate blood, therefore blood clots are formed more quickly than usual. As a result, the bleeding hasn’t occurred, but the formed clot remains travelling in the body at any time able to reach the heart or brain.

Due to rapid heart palpitations, high blood pressure and increased cardiac output during a fit of anger, especially in heart patients, the heart can suddenly stop due to that clot. In other cases arteries can squeeze off hard enough to cut off the oxygen supply to the heart, causing severe chest pain and creating the condition called angina pectoris. Strokes are also common when during a fit of anger an artery bursts in the brain.

anger-management While anger as well as other human emotions is normal, it can cause significant harm if activated repeatedly. In order to prevent long-term consequences of anger on the heart and vascular system, it is necessary to learn to deal with anger and realize what it is doing to your health. It is no good either to express your anger or to suppress it, as raging anger can lead to violence or physical abuse, while anger repression often turns to depression and anxiety. It is best to develop an attitude of non-anger and non-resentment, so there are not many things to upset you.

In order to manage your anger in healthy ways you can try to walk away from the stressful situation temporarily until you cool down, do some physical activity as playing sport or going for a run, learn relaxation techniques and techniques of conflict resolution, see a psychologist or a counselor.

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