Physical Therapy Doctor - September 2019

C H R O N I C A N G E R , Y O U R H E A R T , A N D Y O U R H E A L T H HOW THIS EMOTION IS DOING YOU HARM

Anger is a common emotion. It’s natural, and it’s a part of how you respond to certain circumstances in your environment. It’s how you express extreme displeasure. However, new research suggests chronic anger can be detrimental to your health. Essentially, it comes down to this: If you are stressed, tense, easily irritable, angry, and “snippy” all the time, you may be doing serious harm to your well-being. Studies have already shown a link between anger and the heart. People who showed signs of feeling anger on a regular basis experienced higher rates of heart disease. The first studies on the impact of anger came out in the 1950s and have since been confirmed: Chronic anger physically harms the heart. Why? When you get angry or upset, your brain triggers the release of specific hormones, including cortisol and norepinephrine. These hormones are responsible for triggering the “fight or flight” response. When these hormones enter the bloodstream, your heart rate increases and arteries constrict. This helps to more effectively pump blood to the arms and legs for a fight or a flight.

The problem is that when a person is constantly angry or upset, these hormones course through the body more frequently, stressing the arteries and internal organs. As a person ages, this stress can become more damaging. One study that appeared in the Psychology and Aging Journal looked into this phenomenon. Researchers found a link between frequently experiencing anger and increased inflammation and chronic illness for people ages 80 and older. This equated to more instances of heart disease and dementia. The study also looked at other emotions, including sadness, which has also been linked to heart and other inflammatory disease. Through a number of tests involving 200 participants ages 59–93, the researchers concluded anger was far more detrimental to a person’s health than sadness. Ultimately, if you regularly experience rage and frustration, properly dealing with your anger is one of the best things you can do for your health. Every person’s situation is different, and it comes down to getting to the bottom of what makes you angry, so you can work through it. Whether you work through it alone or with a mental health professional, take the steps to prioritize your mental and physical health, and your efforts will pay off tenfold in the long run.

SUCCE S S S TOR I E S !

Hear What Our Clients Are Saying!

“I feel 99% better. I can move my arm without pain up and down and do many things I have not been able to do for a long time. “I would like to thank Jenove James, my occupational therapist. After a left shoulder replacement, the simple

“After a ... shoulder replacement ... I can do everything.”

everyday things gave me the most problems. Being left handed, it was hard brushing my hair, reaching for dishes, and putting my left hand behind my back. Now, thanks to Jenove, I can do everything. Every session he would ask if I was having any problems with arm movements or any pain and gave me new exercises that always helped. The best advice Jenove gave me is, ‘If you have pain, do more exercises.’ It really works. “Thank you again for all your help and patience. You are an incredible OT and thank you to your staff. You all are great.” -Nancy C.

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