OPTIMISM AFTER A HEART ATTACK

Living LongerA couple senior asian talking and exercising at a park

In health and disease, taking a positive approach is important, especially in heart disease. A recent medical article published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, reported information gathered on mental outlook and mood in people following a heart attack. The people who lived longer and exercised more were those with positive attitudes.

 When the heart arteries narrow silently over years, the person may not realize they have a progressive disease. Suddenly a heart attack strikes and the disease makes itself known. At that point, when the shock and realization a life-changing event has occurred, it affects people differently. Disbelief and depression are part of the process.

 Most hospitals have cardiac rehabilitation programs and it is within these programs that many individuals develop the attitudes and confidence to take control of their health and do everything they can to live healthier and longer.

Four keys to improved health following a heart attack are:

  • Stop all tobacco use.
  • Eat a healthy diet such as plant-based or Mediterranean with minimal fat.
  • Control lipid abnormalities – the LDL goal is 70mg/dl in most. – This is the range that can show reversal of the size of cholesterol plaques within arteries and improve blood flow.
  • Exercise daily under the guidance of your physician.

In the Circulation study done in Denmark, the patients with the most positive outlook exercised more and had a 42% lower chance of dying during the five year follow-up period than those with a poor outlook and negative mood.  However, they found even those with less optimism lived longer if they exercised.

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This entry was posted in Exercise, Health Updates, Heart Disease and tagged , , on by .

About bettykuffel

An internal medicine physician and honors graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Kuffel directed and worked in many Emergency Departments. Retired director of inpatient care at North Valley Hospital in Whitefish, Montana. In addition to writing a monthly health column in Montana Woman Magazine, Dr. Kuffel has several medical murder mysteries, a biological thriller, and additional Lipstick Logic Health Series Volumes in process. Her interests include photography, flying and marksmanship. She lives near the Rocky Mountains with her husband Tom and dog Valkyrie.

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