Daily Health Headlines

Pessimism May Take Unwelcome Toll on the Heart

👤by Steven Reinberg 0 comments 🕔Friday, November 18th, 2016

THURSDAY, Nov. 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Always seeing the cup as half empty, rather than half full, may increase the likelihood of dying from heart disease, Finnish researchers say.

An 11-year study of nearly 3,000 men and women found that those who were the most pessimistic were two times more likely to die of heart disease than those who were the least pessimistic. And, while pessimism was linked to an increased risk of heart-related death, optimism didn't seem to have any effect, the study found.

"Pessimism seems to be quite a significant risk factor for death from coronary heart disease, both in men and women, even after adjustments for the well-known classical risk factors of cardiovascular disease," said lead study author Dr. Mikko Pankalainen. He is a researcher in the department of psychiatry at Paijat-Hame Central Hospital in Lahti, Finland.

But the study did not prove that pessimism caused the rise in heart-related deaths.

"This finding suggests that our knowledge about the connection between optimism and physical health is far from complete," Pankalainen said.

A person's level of pessimism can be measured easily, and it could be another factor in determining a person's risk of dying from heart disease, he suggested.

"In the future, it might be a very useful tool, together with the other known risk factors -- such as smoking, high blood sugar, high blood pressure and high cholesterol -- to determine the risk of dying from heart disease," Pankalainen said.

For the study, the investigators used a test to gauge the level of pessimism and optimism among the participants, who ranged in age from 52 to 76.

Eleven years after the start of the study, the researchers looked at causes of death and used these data to calculate the role that pessimism played in deaths from heart disease. Pankalainen's team adjusted their findings to take into account other risk factors, such as blood pressure and smoking.

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of Women's Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agreed that "there is clearly a connection between how we think and perceive the world, and how it affects our hearts."

Steinbaum, who was not involved with the new study but is familiar with the findings, explained that "with pessimism, we know that there is an increase in inflammatory hormones and stress hormones. And that likely affects the heart, leading to heart attacks and atherosclerosis," she said.

"Although we might not be able to say, 'Be optimistic, it's going to save you,' what we can say is that pessimism really creates a stressful environment in your body and that leads to heart disease," she said.

People who are pessimistic need to retrain their brain, Steinbaum advised.

"It's not an innate attribute to be optimistic, so it's worth making the effort to change your mind, to think of things differently," she said. "You can't always believe that the worst is going to happen. Making an effort to see things in a different light can make a difference."

Behavioral therapy might help, she suggested, because "that kind of therapy is designed to help people think about things differently."

Steinbaum also said it's important to take care of yourself, because when you don't feel well you're more likely to be pessimistic. "Life is hard, but when you feel good, you tend to feel better about life in general," she said.

The report was published online Nov. 17 in the journal BMC Public Health.

Article Credits / Source

Steven Reinberg / HealthDay

Steven Reinberg wrote this story for HealthDay. HealthDay provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from HealthDay.

SOURCES: Mikko Pankalainen, M.D., department of psychiatry, Paijat-Hame Central Hospital, Lahti, Finland; Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., director, Women's Heart Health, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Nov. 17, 2016, BMC Public Health, online

View More Articles From Steven Reinberg 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Heart Articles

Drug Combo for Irregular Heartbeat Might Raise Bleeding Risk

Drug Combo for Irregular Heartbeat Might Raise Bleeding Risk0

MONDAY, Nov. 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Because the irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation can trigger stroke-inducing clots, many patients are prescribed a blood thinner. But a new Canadian study suggests that combining one blood ...

Heart Attacks Up in New Orleans Post-Katrina

Heart Attacks Up in New Orleans Post-Katrina0

FRIDAY, Nov. 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A major New Orleans hospital has seen a sharp spike in the rate of heart attacks in the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, a new study reports. Heart attack admissions to Tulane ...

Amputations Due to Poor Blood Flow More Likely in Certain Groups

Amputations Due to Poor Blood Flow More Likely in Certain Groups0

FRIDAY, Nov. 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Poor and black patients with narrowing of the blood vessels have a higher risk of amputation than other patients, a new study finds. Peripheral artery disease (PAD), as this blood-vessel narrowing is ...

Lifestyle, Stress May Play Role in Heart Rhythm Disorder

Lifestyle, Stress May Play Role in Heart Rhythm Disorder0

SATURDAY, Nov. 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Stress and poor heart-health habits significantly increase the risk of a common heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, two preliminary studies suggest. The irregular or quivering heartbeat ...

CDC Reveals Top 5 Causes of Death

CDC Reveals Top 5 Causes of Death0

THURSDAY, Nov. 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Heart disease tops the list of what's most likely to kill you or someone you love, U.S. health officials reported Thursday. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data naming ...

View More Heart Articles


Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!