Psychological well-being influences heart health

Psychological well-being influences heart health

May 15, 2023; Unhurry Expert Research Team

Patients can achieve better overall outcomes in terms of their cardiovascular health by maintaining optimistic attitudes and feelings through intervention programs explains a review article.

The review paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology is part of an eight-part health promotion series where each paper will focus on a different risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Darwin R. Labarthe, MD, MPH, Ph.D., professor of Preventive Medicine at North-western University Feinberg School of Medicine and the review’s lead author said, “We addressed how social environment, psychological well-being, and the effectiveness of intervention strategies can help strengthen a patient’s outlook. We focused on whether psychological well-being can be consistently related to a reduced risk of heart disease.”

How to assess cardiovascular health?

According to the report, cardiovascular health has been divided into two parts: 1. Health behaviours — healthy diet, physical activity, smoking status, and body mass index and 2. Health factors — which include favourable blood pressure, total cholesterol, and glucose.

The authors of this review examined a growing body of evidence to determine whether psychological health may lower the risk of heart disease. A 2017 study found that older women in the highest quartile of optimism had a 38 percent lower risk of heart disease death. Prospective studies have demonstrated a favourable link between optimism (one aspect of psychological well-being) and heart disease. Since 2012, more research has linked a felt higher purpose in life with a lower risk of stroke.

How psychological well-being influences heart health?

In the four health behaviour components, the most optimistic patients were less likely to be current smokers 12 months later, and high levels of psychological well-being were associated with regular physical activity. Patients with a positive outlook maintained healthier diets by eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed meat and sugar, which helped them keep a healthy BMI.

The review authors found that psychological well-being influenced heart health through biological processes, health behaviours, and psychosocial resources.

Labarthe explains that “Optimists persevere by using problem-solving and planning strategies to manage stressors. If others are faced with factors out of their control, they begin to shift their goals and use potentially maladaptive coping strategies, which would ultimately result in raising inflammation levels and less favourable overall heart health.”

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Is favourable social environment linked to heart health?

A solid social support system also helps patients act quickly on medical advice, solve problems, and take proactive preventative actions. It also provides patients confidence in their future health. Positive social environments, known to affect heart disease risk, have also been proven to predict psychological well-being, suggesting a possible connection.

Yoga and mindfulness programs strengthen psychological well-being

The authors said intervention programs may strengthen psychological well-being Programmes for mindfulness have been demonstrated to help with anxiety, quality of life, quitting smoking, eating well, and other things. Yoga and tai chi, which are frequently included in mindfulness-based therapies, have improved outcomes and decreased blood pressure in individuals with heart failure. For patients receiving palliative care, life-purpose programs have improved mental health, physical symptom distress, and overall well-being.

“It may seem challenging to help patients modify psychological well-being in the face of a new medical diagnosis, but these events can represent a ‘teachable moment.'” Labarthe said. “Just having patient-centered discussions surrounding sources of psychological well-being and information about specific activities to promote well-being is a small, but meaningful, part of a patient’s care.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by American College of Cardiology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Laura D. Kubzansky, Jeff C. Huffman, Julia K. Boehm, Rosalba Hernandez, Eric S. Kim, Hayami K. Koga, Emily H. Feig, Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, Martin E.P. Seligman, Darwin R. Labarthe. Positive Psychological Well-Being and Cardiovascular Disease. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2018; 72 (12): 1382 DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2018.07.042

Page citation:

American College of Cardiology. “Positive psychological well-being can improve overall heart health: High levels of optimism may lead to a better diet, regular exercise and lower stress.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2018. <>.

Help is here:

Name of the Organisation: Indian Heart Foundation

The India Heart Foundation is a collective that works with doctors from across the country empowering them to reach out to the people around them better. They are creating medical educational resources and building a global cardiovascular community to promote cardiovascular health at a regional and national level.


Contact: +91 8220277777

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