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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Food for Thought :Anger, Heavy Exertion: Fast Track to a Heart Attack?

By Amy Norton , HealthDay News 
But researchers suggest that artery-clogging plaque has to be present to increase risk.

Intense anger or heavy physical exertion may be triggers for a first heart attack in some people, new research suggests.

In the study of more than 12,000 people, both intense activity and intense emotions each seemed to double the odds of suffering a heart attack in the next hour. That risk rose about threefold when people were upset and exerted themselves at the same time.

The study is far from the first to suggest -- and it does not prove -- that bouts of anger or physical exertion can trigger a heart attack.

But, it's larger than past studies, and more diverse -- covering first-time heart attack patients in 52 countries, said Barry Jacobs, a spokesman for the American Heart Association who was not involved in the research.

"This confirms that blowing your top is not good -- for other people, or for you," Jacobs said.

Do the findings mean that everyone who gets angry will see a similar spike in their heart attack risk?

"Common sense says no," said Jacobs, director of behavioral sciences at the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program in Springfield, Pa.

He pointed to the underlying biology of it all: Intense emotions or activity can drive up blood pressure and heart rate, and cause blood vessels to constrict. That, in turn, may cause any artery-clogging "plaques" to rupture and cut off blood flow to the heart -- prompting a heart attack.

But a person would have to harbor those plaques in the first place, Jacobs said.

In the study, researchers asked the heart attack patients whether they had been angry or emotionally upset in the hour before their heart attack, or during the same hour the day before. They also asked about heavy physical exertion.

The study did not dig for details -- such as the type of physical activity, or whether a person had an angry outburst or silently simmered.

"What we felt was important was to ask the same person about two different time periods," said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Smyth, of the Population Health Research Center at McMaster University, in Canada.

On average, his team found, people were over two times more likely to suffer a heart attack in the hour after a bout of intense emotions or activity, versus the same hour a day before.

In all, almost 14 percent of study participants said they'd exerted themselves in the hour before their heart attack symptoms arose. A similar number said they'd been angry or upset.

Smyth said his team did look at other factors that affect heart attack risk -- but none of them changed the risks linked to exertion and intense emotions. Physical exertion, for example, raised people's heart attack risk whether they were normally sedentary or regularly exercised.

Still, the researchers said, people face "external triggers" like anger and exertion every day, without succumbing to a heart attack. So, it's likely that those triggers come into play only when a person has artery-clogging plaques that are particularly vulnerable to rupturing.

The findings on heavy exertion do not negate the importance of regular exercise, Smyth said. It's well known, he noted, that exercise has many long-term health benefits -- including a reduced risk of heart disease.

But Smyth did advise avoiding "extremes" -- physical and emotional.

"I do appreciate the difficulty in doing this," he said. "There are times when exposure to extremes of either is unavoidable."

However, people with risk factors for heart attack can limit heavy exertion when possible, and "employ strategies" to avoid extreme emotions, according to Smyth.

Jacobs agreed. He said he does not advocate "burying your emotions." But, he added, "people can learn more appropriate ways of dealing with their emotions."

Jacobs pointed to meditation, breathing and relaxation exercises, and anger and stress management programs as sources of help. He suggested people talk to their doctor about resources in their community, or go online to learn simple techniques, such as breathing practices.

A proud grand-poppa              G.


  1. Our family has a real problem with Brian who still thinks of himself as a healthy 25 year old instead of a man with half a heart. He recently tried to deal with a heavy snowfall by himself, in spite of me lining up a guy to do all our snow removal. He struggled with the snow blower and got serious heart palpitations and angina and came within two minutes of a heart attack. I stopped him and gave him aspirin and nitro glycerin but I knew we were on the edge of a full blown attack. The doctor verified it the next day. Brian was ill for three weeks after that. Now he has to wear a nitro patch before he does anything even slightly physical. The problem is in changing a man's mind set about what he can do and what he can't. Another thing that has brought on an angina attack is stress and worry. People with Brian's heart history are walking a razor's edge all the time. This is a very good post and I will show it to Brian.
    Great job HB. I hope other people absorb some of the advice too.
    Love and hugs

  2. I bet your family has to deal with the things he used to do ... I do so think that is a problem with most families when they are dealing with the head of the family , it is very hard to let go .
    Maybe this will help , tell your sons to borrow his snow blower and forget to bring it back and not to buy him things to work with that will tire him out .
    I am sure my son had the same problem with me , I only had a mild attack , I suggest his son remove all the tings that he use that will tire him out . Nee told me his kids was getting him a snow blower for his birthday or Christmas , that was some years back but not long ago .
    I know he worry about you and your family and maybe the two of you can have a day sat aside to just be with each other and talk , maybe about a movie , kids or something , you know you and Brian do have something in common or the two of you would not be together for this long .
    You have to make your feeling known and not pinned up inside is it not so ?
    It is so many things I could tell you , I do not want to push . You said the last I heard that when the holidays was over, you send letter .
    I have more heart posts , I throw them in the air and the first one I pick up is the one I post (laughing my butt off).
    PS: Nee said she left you a comment on the Sanders post


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