Good mood may reduce chance of heart attack, study claims

Baltimore – Having a cheerful outlook may help protect against heart attacks, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University.

Researchers analyzed the occurrence of coronary events among a high-risk group taken from the Genetic Study of Atherosclerosis Risk and among the general population using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Study participants were given surveys that gauged mood, level of concern about health, whether they were relaxed as opposed to anxious, energy level, and life satisfaction.

In both groups, the risk of a coronary event – such as a heart attack, sudden cardiac death or acute coronary syndrome – was lower among people with a cheerful temperament. In the high-risk group, which was made up of siblings of people who had a coronary event before age 60, the reduction in risk for positive people varied from one-third to almost 50 percent.

Although researchers could not identify what about a positive mood offers protection, they noted that people are probably born with a certain temperament, and it is not easy to change.

The study was published online July 1 in the American Journal of Cardiology.