Happy Life to Protect Heart Health
Reported July 8, 2011
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Risk factors for heart disease have been known to be
depression and anxiety, yet beneficial effects of a positive psychological state
aren’t as clear. Now, researchers find that a satisfying life is indeed good for
The study analyzed nearly 8,000 British civil servants with an average age of 49
years. The participants were questioned about seven specific areas of their
lives: love, relationships, leisure activities, standard of living, job, family,
sex, and one’s self. They rated their satisfaction of each category on a scale
of 1 to 7; 1 being very dissatisfied and 7 being very satisfied.
Over a period of six years, the civil servants’ health records were examined for
coronary related deaths, non-fatal heart attacks, and angina, which is a type of
chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle. Results showed that
higher levels of average life satisfaction were associated with a reduced and
significant risk of total coronary heart disease of 13 percent. An approximate
13 percent reduced risk of heart disease was also associated with satisfaction
in four of the specific life categories - job, family, sex, and self; but not
with love relationships, leisure activities, or standard of living. The reduced
risk of total coronary heart disease was found in both men and women.
The study found those reporting the greatest average life satisfaction appeared
to enjoy the greatest risk reduction in coronary disease. However, when
examining the association between average life satisfaction and fatal or
non-fatal heart attack separately from angina, reduced risk was only evident
with angina, which appeared to be driving the association between life
satisfaction and total coronary heart disease.
“This research indicates that being satisfied with specific life domains - in
particular, one's job, family, sex life, and self - is a positive health asset
associated with a reduction in incident coronary heart disease independently of
traditional risk factors,” the study’s authors write.