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Meditate after a heart attack to stop a second one

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If you’ve had a heart attack, don’t become anxious or depressed—it could double your chances of a second one.

Cardiologists should be prescribing meditation and relaxation classes along with the usual meds to a heart attack patient, say researchers from Emory University.   That’s especially important for younger people—aged between 18 and 61—who’ve survived a heart attack.

The researchers tracked the progress of 283 heart attack survivors, and assessed their levels of depression, anxiety, and anger for up to six months after the attack.  Within five years, 80 patients suffered a second attack or stroke—and half of those had high marks on the stress calculator compared to 22 percent whose stress level markers were lower.

Those with high stress scores also had higher levels of inflammation, which was causing plaque build-up in their arteries and which raised the risk of a second attack.

There was also a social element to the findings.  Black females from a disadvantaged socio-economic background were more likely to smoke, have diabetes or high blood pressure, and these also increase stress levels.

Mental health and socio-economic factors could have a big impact on heart health, particularly among the young, the researchers added.

(Source: Proceedings of the American College of Cardiology’s 70th Annual Scientific Session, May 6, 2021)

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