Heart disease patients with positive attitudes are more likely to exercise and live longer, according to a Danish study.
Researchers used the Global Mood Scale questionnaire to assess the moods of 600 ischemic heart disease patients in a Denmark hospital. Five years later, they found that the most upbeat patients exercised more and had a 42% lower risk of dying for any reason during the follow-up period. The mortality rate for those patients was less than 10%.
Among patients with less positive attitudes, the mortality rate was 16.5%, according to the study, which was published Sept. 10 on the website of the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
Exercise levels the playing field between positive and negative patients, the researchers said. The differences in death rates between upbeat and sad heart patients were less evident when both groups exercised. However, information on the types and amounts of exercise was not available.
Other studies have shown that heart patients optimistic mood improves their health, the researchers said.
We should focus not only on increasing positive attitude in cardiac rehabilitation, but also make sure that patients perform exercise on a regular basis, as exercise is associated with both increased levels of optimism and better health, Susanne S. Pedersen, PhD, a study author and professor of cardiac psychology at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and adjunct professor at the University of Southern Denmark and Odense University Hospital (in Denmark), said in a news release.
Mood and exercise have a two-way relationship with each factor influencing the other, Pedersen said.
The studys results, on patients predominantly white and 75% male, likely apply to a wider range of cardiac patients, including those in the U.S., she added.
Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes is a journal of the American Heart Association. Study: http://circoutcomes.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/09/10/CIRCOUTCOMES.113.000158.abstract.