There are many foods that are bad for your heart health. But your emotional health can play a role as well. In a new Swedish study, men who tend to bottle up their anger about being unfairly treated in their place of employment have double the risk of a heart attack.
Researchers from Stockholm looked at 2,755 male employees who had not had a heart attack before the study began.
The men were asked which coping methods they used. They were asked if they dealt with problems head-on, or if they didn’t say anything and just walked away from conflict. Also, the researchers asked if they developed symptoms such as headache or stomach ache or got into arguments at home.
The researchers think that anger produces physiological tensions that, if not released, leads to increases in blood pressure which eventually damages the cardiovascular system.
“There has been research before pointing in this direction,” says Dr. Constanze Leineweber, who led the study at the Stress Research Institute in Stockholm. “But the surprise is that the association between pent-up anger and heart disease was such a strong one.
“I think men can’t help how they behave in conflict situations – it’s not something they think about, it’s just how they react instinctively.”