Can optimism reduce risk of heart disease?

Can optimism reduce risk of heart disease?

Are you a glass half-full type of person? If you are, you’re in luck. A new study says you are doing great things for the future of your heart’s health.

The study, recently published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, showed that people over the age of 50 who are regularly optimistic are at lower risk for heart failure.

The research team looked at the effects of an optimistic lifestyle in older folks – the greatest at-risk group for heart failure. They surveyed and analyzed more than 6,800 adults ages 65 and up to gather data. These participants were followed and regularly screened for four years.

The results showed that those people with higher levels of optimism had reduced their risk for heart failure by 73 percent. And those who were pessimistic showed no reduced risk.

The study also suggested that with the collected data, these highly optimistic persons were more likely to adopt a healthier diet and exercise regimen. They were also better able to manage stress in their lives, which experts say might be the key to explaining these findings.

Dr. Tiffany Eileen Groen, a family medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group in Frankfort, Ill., says optimism and general happiness are key to lowering stress and benefitting heart health.

“Patients who experience regular laughter and love actually have higher levels of endorphins, our body’s pleasure hormones,” Dr. Groen says. “These endorphins have positive effects on stress levels, heart health and even our immune system.”

Further research is needed to make this connection fact, researchers say, but optimism is always a healthy way to go.


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One Comment

  1. Makes sense. Optimistic people carry around a lot less stress!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.