Anger really can kill, doctors have warned.
Feelings of rage can trigger potentially deadly irregular heart rhythms, research shows. The finding, from a study of patients with cardiac problems, could explain other studies which have linked the anger sparked by world events - from the loss of a World Cup match to a war - with heart attacks.
'When you put a whole population under a stress factor, sudden death will increase,' said researcher Dr Rachel Lampert. 'Our study starts to look at how does this really affect the electrical system of the heart.'
Dr Lampert, of Yale University in the U.S., studied 62 adults being treated for an irregular heartbeat - a common condition which raises the risk of heart attack.
She said: 'We found in the lab setting that yes, anger did increase this electrical instability in these patients.'
Patients in the study took part in an exercise in which they recounted a recent angry episode while Dr Lampert's team did a test called T-Wave Alternans that measures electrical instability in the heart.