The Deadly Effect of Anger on Your Body and Brain

Anger is an inappropriate response to external threat or fear or the feeling that something has gone wrong or that you have been unfairly or unjustly treated. When you respond to such situations disproportionately, the response is anger.

Frequent anger is related to many physical and mental ailments. It affects the overall quality of life and leads to many ailments.

Anger leads to resentments, broken relationship, loss of respect and negatively affects others. Before it affects others, it does a significant damage to you. As Mark Twain rightly says that anger is an acid and it does more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to something on which it is poured.

Guatama Buddah expresses the same feeling about anger by comparing it a hot coal. Holding to anger is like grasping a hot coal. Before you throw the hot coal at someone else, you are the one that gets burned.

Anger and stress cause each other. They are significant contributors to ill-health and premature death. They both are the main culprits in causing several mental ailments.

For the pharmaceutical industry, anger related diseases are a boon. They are cashing billions of dollars for the 30 million prescriptions in America every year.

Here is a list of the issues that anger can have a significant contribution to.

Anger and Cardiovascular Diseases

Anger increases acidity in the blood which affects various organs. It leads into high blood pressure. The fight or flight response raises adrenaline and cortisol levels which speeds up the heart rate.  During anger the heart tries to pump the blood harder, the blood vessels constrict and this can damage the artery walls. Due to high pressure on the heart, it causes a significant amount of wear and tear. This can be rightly termed as the cardio toxic effect of anger.

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published 44 studies and concluded that there as was a link between emotions and heart diseases.

Another study which was published in the journal “Circulation” found that people who exploded with anger were at a greater risk of strokes and sudden death.

According to The University College of London findings, anger triggers abnormal heart rhythm which accounts for more than 400,000 sudden deaths in a year.

Another study by Ohio State found that just a 30 minutes marital disagreement can add a day or even more time to the time it takes for a wound to heal.

Another interesting study by Harvard reports that grumpy old men or older men who are prone to explosive anger are three times at greater risk than their calmer peers!

Anger and High Cholesterol

In a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, it was found that people who were regularly angry had higher levels of both total cholesterol and bad cholesterol than those who could process their angry feelings more constructively. Tilmer Engebretson of the Ohio State University says that it is harmful to always express anger loudly or suppress it. He suggests that the best solution is to be always flexible.

Natalie Angier wrote an article which was published in the New York Times in December, 1990 by the title of “If anger ruins your day, it can shrink your life.”  The author quotes Dr William of the American Heart Association that people who on high scale of anger have higher score of cholesterol than their cheerful counterparts.

Anger and Diabetes

Does anger leads to diabetes? Or is the other way round? There is some controversy regarding this. The American Diabetes Association says anger can make things worse when not used positively.  The Association suggests that anger and diabetes go in hand in hand and each can contribute to the other.

When someone is angry at diabetes and will not change their lifestyle, the condition can become worse. This in turn also increases the level of anger. So both anger and diabetes levels can rise together.

Wisegeek Health reports that a study in Kuwait University found that instances of type A diabetes and anger was higher in diabetes patients than in non-diabetes patients.

Anger and Fatigue

Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi conducted a study in 2006  to find the relationship between depression, stress, fatigue and anger. The study surveyed 400 clinical nurses through questionnaires. It was found there was a positive correlation between anger, fatigue, stress and depression. The survey has been published in PubMed of US National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health.

Dr Lawarenc Wilson, MD, thinks that some stimulants damage the adrenal glands. Such stimulants among other include anger, rage, arguing and hatred.

Stress is directly correlated to anger. Stress can generate anger and anger can generate stress.

Anger and Brain

Researchers suggest that anger blocks the growth of new neurons. Furthermore, it is responsible for the transmission of uneven signals from brain to heart.

Researchers at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute in Calgary found that stress and anger can compromise the functions of certain neurons in the brain and thus jeopardize the ability of the affected brain to slow down.

Anger, expressed or unexpressed, takes its toll. Those who do not express their anger are even at greater risks. Exploders express their anger and in a few minutes feel ok. Imploders on the other hand keep it for days, months and even years inside. It erodes them from inside just like acid erodes its container. Exploders suffer and harms themselves, too, but imploders are like on slow burner which continuously and constantly keeps them burning.

WebMd quotes Laura Kubzansky, PHD and an assistant professor at Harvard School of Public Health that explosive people who through things at people or screams are at risk of cardiovascular diseases. She further says that that those who suppress their anger are at similar risk. “Either end of the continuum is problematic.”

Other Health Problems Caused by Anger

Here is a list of health issues that have been found to be directly or indirectly linked to anger.

  • Abusing Others
  • Acne
  • Chest Pains
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Divorce
  • Drug Abuse
  • Eczema
  • Flushing
  • Grinding and Clenching Teeth
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Heart Attacks
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Hurting Oneself
  • Hurting Others
  • Intestinal Cramps
  • Indigestion
  • Kidney Failures
  • Killing
  • Leaving Relationship
  • Low Sex Drive
  • Muscle Tension
  • Obesity
  • Peptic Ulcers
  • Rash
  • Ringing In Ears
  • Stress
  • Suicide
  • Sweating and Chills
  • Weight Gain
  • Wrinkles

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