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Optimism, Not Gratitude Good for Heart

Update Date: Dec 12, 2015 03:29 PM EST

According to the latest U.S. study, when people survive a heart attack or chronic blockage of blood flow, the optimistic people are more likely to make better lifestyle choices. Being optimistic has been linked to 8% lower risk of repeat hospitalization. Positive outlook was also linked to having a more active life. Gratitude, on the other hand, does not appear to have such a significant difference in these outcomes. "It can be a very vulnerable period - rates of re-hospitalizations and death are high in the months following such an event, so it is really important to understand what factors may predict better outcomes," said lead study author Dr. Jeff Huffman, a researcher in cardiac psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. "Having an acute coronary syndrome can be kind of a watershed moment: people can thrive after the event and make substantial changes in the way they live their lives - being more active, following a healthier diet, quitting smoking - or they can end up feeling discouraged or demoralized, and not making changes," reports Reuters.

To understand what can influence the people to change their lives, Huffman and his team of researchers analyzed 164 patients that were hospitalized due to acute coronary syndromes between 2012 and 2014. On an average, the patients where white male, aged 62 years. After 2 weeks of hospitalization, the researchers used a questionnaire to evaluate gratitude and optimism and also ask the patients to try and recall their activity levels before they landed up in the hospital. Then six months later, the data was reassessed based on various parameters. The six-month study revealed that 35 patients were readmitted while 28 people returned due to emergency heart problems. The optimists people in the study group were 8% less likely to come back to the hospital for cardiac reasons, as reported by Health.

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