Positive outlook in heart disease tied to fewer deaths
NEW YORK - People with heart disease who are more upbeat and excited tend to live longer than those who don't have such a positive outlook, a new study suggests, possibly because they are often more active.
Researchers surveyed people with ischemic heart disease - when the heart doesn't get enough blood due to narrowed arteries - and found earning a high score on measures of "positive affect" was tied to a greater chance of being a regular exerciser and a lower risk of dying over the next five years.
"It adds to the body of literature suggesting that there may be relationships between positive affect … and all-cause mortality," Richard Sloan, who studies psychological risk factors and heart disease at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, said.
But, "It's going to take more than this to be confident that there's a link in the way we're confident there's a link between depression and (a higher risk of) heart disease," Sloan, who didn't participate in the new research, told Reuters Health.
The new study included 607 heart patients who were seen at one Danish hospital.
Susanne S. Pedersen from Tilburg University in The Netherlands and her colleagues asked the patients about their quality of life, mood and lifestyle habits including physical activity in 2005. Then they used death and hospital records to track participants through 2010.
On a mood scale ranging from 0 to 40, where higher scores indicate feeling more relaxed, self-confident and excited, half of participants scored a 24 or above. (Negative affect was measured separately - so a person could score high or low on measures of both positive attitude and insecurity or helplessness.)
During the follow-up period, 30 of the high positive affect patients died of any cause, compared to 50 people with a lower positive attitude score.