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 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.
“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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