New studies show that anger and/or depression may cause heart damage:

Depression & Anger

Anger Linked to Heart Attacks

Research has shown that people are nine times more likely to suffer a heart attack right after a bout of anger. A more recent study, which looked at people with so-called “angry personalities,” also found these people were at higher risk for heart attacks over a 10-year period than people who are not prone to anger. And it’s not just men. Although the stereotype is the “angry man,” women can also suffer the adverse health effects of anger, even if they deal with anger in a different way.

Another study found that women who felt angry, but didn’t express their anger, were significantly more likely than other women to develop thickening in their carotid arteries (the blood vessels in the neck). Such thickening is a marker for development of heart disease in the future.

Depression Damages Heart Health

Traditionally, depression has been thought to contribute to heart disease because it affects our actions. People who are depressed tend to overindulge in alcohol, which raises blood pressure; eat fattening foods, hiking diabetes and obesity risk, and smoke. They also tend not to exercise. But researchers have now learned that depression itself can damage your heart health. According to one study, people who reported feeling sad or depressed were 2.5 times more likely to suffer a heart attack, and five times more likely when they reported that they were severely depressed. This is also true of people who report feeling tense or frustrated. Researchers at Wake Forest University looked at 4,500 elderly people with no history of heart disease, and found that depression increased heart disease risk by 40 percent.

But that’s not the only problem. As I know from years of experience, after a heart attack people are even more likely to be depressed. Research has found that those people are at an increased risk for dying earlier than those who get emotional help after a heart attack.

Thank you for reading today’s heart health tip.

To your heart health,
Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall