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.