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BEWARE: Working Hard While Emotionally Upset Could Trigger Heart Attack

Oct 11, 2016 02:27 AM EDT
Heart Attack
People who are angry and emotionally upset while doing heavy physical activity have three times the risk of heart attack.
(Photo : David Ramos/Getty Images)

A new study reveals that being angry or emotionally upset during an activity that requires heavy physical exertion could trigger a heart attack.

The study, published in the journal Circulation, showed that people who are angry and emotional upset have twice the risk of heart attack within one hour. Heavy physical activity could have the same risk of triggering heart attack. However, people who are angry and emotional stress, and at the same time engaging in heavy physical exertion have thrice the risk of heart attack.

"Regular physical activity has many health benefits, including the prevention of heart disease, so we want that to continue," said Andrew Smyth, M.D., Ph.D, a researchers at researcher at the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Canada, and lead author of the study, in a press release. "However, we would recommend that a person who is angry or upset who wants to exercise to blow off steam not go beyond their normal routine to extremes of activity."

For the study, the researchers analyzed the data of 12,461 patients participating in INTERHEART, a study consisting of patients with first-ever heart attacks across 52 countries. Each participant was asked to complete a questionnaire about whether they experience anger, emotional stress or heavy physical exertion an hour prior to their attack.

The researchers found being angry, emotional upset and heavy physical exertion could potentially increased the risk of heart attack beyond the risk posed by other factors, including age, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure and other health problems. Furthermore, both emotional and physical triggers appear to have similar effects on the body. Both emotional and physical triggers could raise blood pressure and heart rate, altering the flow of blood through the blood through the blood vessels.

With their findings, researchers are advising people to maintain mental wellness and avoid extreme anger, emotional stress and physical exertion. Furthermore, people who are already at risk of heart attack are advised to avoid any extreme emotional situations and heavy physical activities.

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