People who are prone to anger can experience high rates of blood pressure and poor physical health. However, according to the results of a recent study, anger may actually protect you from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Dr. Shunichi Nakamura of the Department of Internal Medicine’s Division of Cardiology and Regenerative Medicine at Nippon Medical School in Japan led a study that looked at how anger, anxiety, and depression all affected risk of CVD symptoms or death in a sample of clients who were hospitalized for CVD complications.
Research on CVD has shown that psychosocial risk factors play an important role in future CVD complications and even death. However, different psychological factors have not been examined independently in relation to future complications and death in CVD patients. Therefore, Nakamura looked at how anxiety, anger, and depression all influenced CVD issues in the six-to-30 months following hospital discharge among 414 clients with a history of CVD.
The results revealed that anxiety had very little relation to future CVD issues, but depression was a significant predictor or CVD problems and death in the sample. In fact, 11.1% of the participants had clinical levels of depression at time of initial discharge. Nakamura believes that this rate may not represent the true rate of depression experienced upon admittance to the hospital, as previous research has shown that depression may decrease from intake to discharge. This finding suggests that psychological examination should be conducted at intake to ensure mental health needs are being adequately addressed and to minimize the impact of depression on CVD.
When Nakamura looked at anger, the findings were quite different. “In contrast, high levels of anger appear to protect patients from these adverse outcomes,” said Nakamura. This result is not entirely unexpected, as some research how shown that anger can be beneficial to psychological well-being and can actually act as a protective mechanism for negative outcomes. However, different types of anger, both beneficial and detrimental, were not distinguished in this study. Therefore, although the results of this research suggest anger can have a positive influence on CVD health, future work should aim to disentangle the independent effects of detrimental and beneficial anger on CVD and other aspects of physical health.
Nakamura, Shunichi, et al. (2013). Prognostic value of depression, anxiety, and anger in hospitalized cardiovascular disease patients for predicting adverse cardiac outcomes. The American Journal of Cardiology 111.10 (2013): 1432. ProQuest.Web.
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