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Optimism Is Good for Your Heart

Optimism Is Good for Your Heart

02/28/11

MONDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Heart patients are more likely to survive if they have a positive outlook, researchers are reporting.

More than 2,800 heart disease patients were given a psychological questionnaire and asked about their belief in their ability to recover from the illness and return to a regular routine.

After 15 years, 1,637 of the patients had died. Of those deaths, 885 (54 percent) were due to heart disease. Patients who had an optimistic outlook were 30 percent less likely to die during the follow-up period, said the researchers from Duke University Medical Center.

The increased risk of death among pessimistic patients persisted even after the researchers compensated for a number of factors, including heart disease severity, age, gender, income, depression, and social support.

"This study is unique because it shows that a patient's attitude toward their disease not only impacts their ability to return to a normal lifestyle but also their health over the long term and ultimately their survival," lead author John. C. Barefoot said in a Duke news release.

Optimists may more effectively deal with their condition, such as closely following their treatment plan, while pessimists may experience more tension and stress, which can have damaging effects on the body, the researchers speculated.

"The take-home message is that having positive expectations can not only make you feel better but also potentially live longer," Barefoot said.

The study was published Feb. 28 in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about heart disease.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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