-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- Being cheerful and
optimistic may greatly reduce your risk of heart problems,
according to a new study.
"If you are by nature a cheerful person and look on the bright side of things, you are more likely to be protected from cardiac events," study leader Lisa Yanek, an assistant professor in general internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a Hopkins news release. "A happier temperament has an actual effect on disease, and you may be healthier as a result."
Yanek and her colleagues examined data from more than 7,400
Americans and found that being cheerful, relaxed, energetic and
satisfied with life reduced the risk of heart attack, sudden
cardiac death and other serious heart problems by as much as 50
The mechanisms behind the protective effect of being upbeat and
positive are unclear, Yanek said.
The study was published recently in the
American Journal of Cardiology. Previous research has shown
that depressed and anxious people are more likely to have heart
attacks and to die from them than those with sunnier
The new study found an association between optimism and heart
health, but it didn't prove cause-and-effect.
Yanek noted that people with cheerful personalities tend to be
born that way, and it's not easy for people to change their
It's been suggested that people endowed with a cheerful
disposition are also more likely to take better care of themselves
and have more energy to do so. However, Yanek said her research
shows that upbeat people still had many risk factors for heart
disease but had fewer serious heart events.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health outlines what you can do
reduce heart risks.
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