Optimism Might Cut Your Risk for Heart Attack04/18/12
WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Being upbeat is good for
your heart, a new study suggests.
Many previous studies have shown that negative mental states --
such as depression, anger, anxiety and hostility -- can harm the
This Harvard School of Public Health review of more than 200
studies found that positive feelings appear to reduce the risk of
cardiovascular disease and events such as heart attack and
"The absence of the negative is not the same thing as the presence of the positive," lead author Julia Boehm, a research fellow in the department of society, human development, and health, said in a university news release. "We found that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction and happiness are associated with reduced risk of [cardiovascular disease] regardless of such factors as a person's age, socioeconomic status, smoking status or body weight."
"For example, the most optimistic individuals had an approximately 50 percent reduced risk of experiencing an initial cardiovascular event compared to their less optimistic peers," Boehm noted.
The researchers also found that people with a sense of
psychological well-being engaged in healthy behaviors such as
exercising, eating a balanced diet and getting sufficient sleep. In
addition, greater psychological well-being was associated with
lower blood pressure, healthier blood-fat status and normal body
The study was published online April 17 in the journal
If future research confirms that higher levels of satisfaction,
optimism and happiness benefit cardiovascular health, the findings
could prove important in the creation of prevention and treatment
strategies, the researchers said.
More than 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day
(an average of one death every 39 seconds) and stroke accounts for
approximately one in 18 deaths in the United States, according to
the American Heart Association.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health outlines ways to
reduce heart risks.
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