Friday, January 18, 2008

A Healthy Heart May be A Laugh Away

Here,s a fun way to help patients prevent heart disease: tell them a joke. A life abundant with chuckles may ward off cardiovascular disorders, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association.

When confronted with a variety of humorous situations, a cohort of 150 people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh, compared to a group of 150 of their peers without heart disease.

"The old saying that laughter is the best medicine, definitely appears to be true when it comes to protecting your heart, noted Michael Miller, MD, FACC, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "We don't know yet why laughing protects the heart, but we know that mental stress is associated with impairment of the endothelium, the protective barrier lining our blood vessels. This can cause a series of inflammatory reactions that lead to fat and cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries and ultimately to a heart attack, "We could perhaps read something humorous or watch a funny video and try to find ways to take ourselves less seriously, Dr. Miller explained. "The recommendation for a healthy heart may one day be exercise, eat
right and laugh a few times a day.

American Heart Association

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