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Dec 11, 2015 05:29 AM EST

Optimism is good for your heart

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A U.S study suggests that optimistic people are more likely to make healthy changes in their lifestyle after surviving a heart attack or severe blockage of blood flow to the heart, Reuters reports. 

As a result, optimistic people are less likely to end up back in the hospital after surviving a heart attack or a serious heart problem.

"It can be a very vulnerable period - rates of rehospitalizations and death are high in the months following such an event, so it is really important to understand what factors may predict better outcomes," said lead study author Dr. Jeff Huffman, a researcher in cardiac psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

"Having an acute coronary syndrome can be kind of a watershed moment: people can thrive after the event and make substantial changes in the way they live their lives - being more active, following a healthier diet, quitting smoking - or they can end up feeling discouraged or demoralized, and not making changes."

The study suggests that optimism led to an 8 percent lower risk of repeat hospitalizations in the six months after one of these serious heart problems. However, gratitude did not make a significant difference in the outcome.

For the study, Huffman and colleagues studied data on 164 patients hospitalized for acute coronary syndromes between 2012 and 2014.

The study revealed that the optimists in the study were 8 percent less likely to return to the hospital for cardiac issues, and 6 percent less likely to go back for any reason.

Andrew Steptoe, a public health researcher at the University College London who wasn't involved in the study said,

"The situation of people suffering an acute cardiac event is different from that of people undergoing surgery: surgery is usually planned so the patient can prepare for it, whereas cardiac events often come out of the blue . But in both cases, a positive orientation is an asset."

The report was published online Dec. 8 in the journal Circulation.

According to Health, another study, published last spring in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, revealed that among nearly 400 heart attack patients, the pessimistic patients were twice as likely to suffer from serious complications such as a second heart attack in the four years following their initial heart attack as compared to the optimistic patients.

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