How not controlling anger can kill you

When you're stressed, anxious or just plain ticked off, controlling anger can be difficult.

Get down on your knees and pray instead of raising your voice in anger -- because a few moments with God can calm you down, bring peace and help the moment pass.

More importantly, that calming prayer could save your life.

New research confirms that even a minor angry outburst could trigger a heart attack, stroke or other serious cardiovascular problem.

If you give into your anger and let your temper erupt, your risk of angina and heart attack jumps by nearly 500 percent and your risk of ischemic stroke and cardiac arrhythmia climbs by 360 percent, according to the Harvard analysis of nine studies.

Now, we already know that stress, anxiety and (especially) anger are major risk factors for serious problems such as heart attack and stroke.

But what makes the new study in the European Heart Journal stand apart is the timeframe: It didn't simply connect angry people to a higher long-term risk of heart attack and stroke.

No, this study finds that the risks are very real and very immediate -- because it finds the risk is highest within two hours of an outburst.

And if you're tightly wound and prone to exploding rather than controlling anger, already suffer from heart problems or have a disease such as diabetes, your risk within those two hours shoots into the stratosphere. Your heart attack risk, for example, can climb by as much as 730 percent and your stroke risk by up to 760 percent.

The study doesn't show why the risk jumps by so much, but there's no real mystery to this one.

Anger and stress raise blood pressure and cause the heart to race like a spooked horse, inducing angina or even causing a heart attack. It can also set the stage for a clot and cause a stroke.

Other studies have shown that the chronically angry have thicker artery walls, especially in the carotid artery, which also lays the groundwork for heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

That's why it's essentially not to give in to your temper.

Along with the power of prayer, other safe and natural calming treatments include exercise, ginseng, ashwagandha and GABA. In addition, homeopathic remedies can work wonders -- but the remedy that works best for you will depend on the cause of your anger and stress.

Do some homework, or speak with a skilled holistic medical doctor about controlling anger and stress.