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Heart disease patients with positive attitudes likely to exercise, live longer

Date:
September 10, 2013
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
Heart disease patients with positive attitudes are more likely to exercise and live longer, says a new study. Patients may have better health outcomes when doctors' treatments are aimed at increasing positive attitude and promoting regular exercise.

Heart disease patients with positive attitudes are more likely to exercise and live longer, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Researchers used a questionnaire to assess the moods of 600 ischemic heart disease patients in a Denmark hospital. Five years later, researchers found:

  • The most positive patients exercised more and had a 42 percent less chance of dying for any reason during the follow-up period; deaths were less than 10 percent.
  • Among patients with less positive attitudes, 50 deaths occurred (16.5 percent).
  • Positive mood and exercise also cut the risk of heart-related hospitalizations.

Ischemic heart disease, also called coronary artery disease, is caused by narrowed arteries that don't provide enough blood and oxygen to the heart.

Exercise levels the playing field between positive and negative patients, researchers said. So the differences in death rates between upbeat and sad heart patients weren't as striking when both groups exercised. However, information on the types and amounts of exercise were not available.

Other studies have shown that heart patients' optimistic mood improves their health.

"We should focus not only on increasing positive attitude in cardiac rehabilitation, but also make sure that patients perform exercise on a regular basis, as exercise is associated with both increased levels of optimism and better health," said Susanne S. Pedersen, Ph.D., one of the study authors and professor of cardiac psychology, the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, the Netherlands, and adjunct professor of cardiac psychology, the University of Southern Denmark and Odense University Hospital, Denmark.

Mood and exercise have a chicken-and-egg, two-way relationship with each factor influencing the other, she said.

The study's results on patients, predominantly white and 75 percent male, likely apply to a wider range of cardiac patients, including those in the United States, Pedersen said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Madelein T. Hoogwegt, Henneke Versteeg, Tina B. Hansen, Lau C. Thygesen, Susanne S. Pedersen, and Ann-Dorthe Zwisler. Exercise Mediates the Association Between Positive Affect and 5-Year Mortality in Patients With Ischemic Heart Disease. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, September 2013 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.113.000158

Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Heart disease patients with positive attitudes likely to exercise, live longer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130910165432.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2013, September 10). Heart disease patients with positive attitudes likely to exercise, live longer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130910165432.htm
American Heart Association. "Heart disease patients with positive attitudes likely to exercise, live longer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130910165432.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

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