Men prone to angry tantrums or sulky hostility are more likely to develop an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation, researchers say.
Having a Type-A personality alone is not enough to predispose a man to heart disease, the researchers report in the journal Circulation. But men who described themselves as fiery- or quick-tempered, hot-headed, furious when criticized or wanting to hit someone when frustrated were 30% more likely to suffer from atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden death.
In fact, such men were 20% more likely to have died of anything during the study period than less-angry men, the researchers found.
Men who said they shake with anger, or get headaches or muscle tension also were more likely to develop atrial fibrillation, which affects an estimated 2 million Americans a year. The study suggests that expressing emotions may not always be healthy, said Elaine Eaker of Eaker Epidemiology Enterprises in Chili, Wis.,
who led the study.
"There has been a perception that you can dissipate the negative health effects of anger by letting it out instead of bottling it up," Eaker said. "But that is definitely not the case in the men in this study - they were at higher risk not only of atrial fibrillation, but of death from all causes."