Thursday, February 18, 2010

HAPPINESS HELPS THE HEART

An example of a heart attack, which can occur ...
An example of a heart attack, which can occur after the use of a performance-enhancing drug. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LONDON - You've heard it before: To avoid a heart attack don't smoke, eat right and exercise. But it may also help to be happy, a new study says. Even if you're grumpy by nature, just try to be cheerful.

Researchers at Columbia University rated the happiness levels of more than 1,700 adults in Canada with no heart problems in 1995. After a decade, they examined the 145 people who developed a heart problem and found happier people were less likely to have had one.

The study was published online yesterday in the European Heart Journal. The paper's lead author, Dr Karina Davidson of Columbia University Medical Centre, said happy people were more likely to have a healthier lifestyle. It could also be there is an unknown genetic trait that predisposes people to be happy and have less heart disease.

Other experts said happiness itself could result in a healthier heart compared to emotions such as stress or depression.

Stress often releases harmful heart hormones and can also cause blood vessels to open too wide, allowing plaque to clog the arteries. Depression has long been noted as a risk factor for heart problems. AP

From TODAY, Friday, 19-Feb-2010
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