It seems obvious that blowing your lid makes your heart angry as well. But how strong is the effect? I mean we all get upset at one time or another, but research shows: lose your temper … maybe lose your life.

Researchers in the European Heart Journal studied the link between anger and your heart — and the link is a strong one. In fact losing it not only increases your risk while you’re in a rage, but for more than 2 hours afterwards.

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The study reached this conclusion by looking at more than 300 people who had “the big one” and found that many had a thrown a major fit within the two hours of having a heart attack.

How major a fit? Researchers used an anger scale of 1-7, but a practical way of looking at it also might include the concept of going into such a rage that you clench your fists and physically tense up.

How much does the risk go up? How’s 8x grab you? Enough to make you grab your chest in pain.

The physical reasons make sense. A lot of hormones chemicals are released when you fly off the handle. An ugly brew that tightens and narrows blood vessels; makes blood clots more likely to form (in a heart artery); causes your pulse to take off like a horse race; and make blood pressure literally blow the roof off of your heart muscle.

The biggest triggers for intense anger found by researchers included:

– Some work event or incident
– Anger at a family member
– Anger at a coworker
– Getting stuck in a traffic jam or having someone cut you off while driving

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What’s the answer to anger? Hold it in? Or let it out?

Well, both are easier said than done — and both will get you, either quickly, or over time.

I tend to have a bit of both tendencies — one where I get angry and let it out; the other when I just let something make me simmer or stew. Neither is heart healthy. Fortunately, it’s been a long, long time where I’ve had any fist clenching rage. I consciously work on being an even keeled boat — and that does take work.

That means things such as exercise, meditation, quiet time, an appropriate outlook on what really matters in life — all will keep your heart happier.

Let me leave you with a quote from some wise soul:

“If you don’t think every day is a good day, just try missing one.”

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Dr. Dave Hnida is CBS4’s Medical Editor. He blogs about the latest studies and trends in the health world. Read his latest blog entries, check out his bio or follow him on Twitter @drdavehnida