People having an optimistic approach towards life are more likely to have healthy hearts, according to a new study by the University of Illinois. Researchers observed that people with a high level of optimism had twice better cardiovascular health.
“Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts,” said lead author Rosalba Hernandez, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois. “This association remains significant, even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health.”
For the study, researchers assessed 5100 people on seven metrics including blood pressure, body mass index, diet, tobacco consumption cholesterol level and physical activity. All the participants were aged between 45 to 84 years old, an age group where cardiovascular disease is very common. Researchers observed their level of optimism, mental health and physical health. They rated each volunteer on a scale of 0 to 14 where 0 indicated towards poor health and 14 indicated towards better health.
After doing rigorous analysis, researchers found a link between optimism and better cardiovascular health. People who had a higher level of optimism (between 50 to 76 percent) scored better than people who weren’t optimistic. In fact, effect of optimism was more pronounce than socio-demographic characteristics like age, income, education and on cardio diseases.
“At the population level, even this moderate difference in cardiovascular health translates into a significant reduction in death rates,” Hernandez said. “This evidence, which is hypothesized to occur through a biobehavioral mechanism, suggests that prevention strategies that target modification of psychological well-being – e.g., optimism – may be a potential avenue for AHA to reach its goal of improving Americans’ cardiovascular health by 20 percent before 2020.”
The study confirmed the findings offered by a study published in 2013. The study has a great significance as cardio diseases have turned out to be most common disease these days in old people and being optimistic is an easy and inexpensive way of dodging cardio problems to a great extent.