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Anger Predicts Coronary Artery Disease

It’s never healthy to keep your stress bottled up inside, but all the evidence suggests that a slow simmer is almost always safer than a raging boil. Anger, especially anger manifested in bouts of uncontrollable rage or fury, can do serious damage - and not just to household items or innocent bystanders.

The results of a study involving 12,986 men and women (45-64 years old at baseline) provide evidence that anger may predict coronary heart disease (CHD). As part of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, participants completed a trait anger scale assessing relative anger/rage; clinical examinations at baseline and follow-up assessed the incidence CHD and associated heart conditions.

High levels of anger contributed to an increased risk of CHD and other coronary events, including acute myocardial infarction (MI) and fatal CHD. Specifically, the investigators noted a three times greater risk for people with the greatest difficulty controlling their anger compared to those with the least difficulty.

The moral to this story: We all get frustrated and angry sometimes, but how we release or “control” our anger can make a big difference. It might mean the difference in staying healthy instead of suffering from heart disease. For more information, talk to your doctor. You can also find information on line at


Williams JE, Paton CC, Siegler IC, et al. Anger proneness predicts coronary heart disease risk: prospective analysis from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Circulation 2000: Vol. 101, pp2034-39.