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Being cheerful may reduce heart risk

Being cheerful and optimistic may greatly reduce your risk of heart problems, according to a new study.

"If you are by nature a cheerful person and look on the bright side of things, you are more likely to be protected from cardiac events," said Lisa Yanek of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "A happier temperament has an actual effect on disease, and you may be healthier as a result."

Yanek and her colleagues examined more than 7,400 Americans and found that being cheerful, relaxed, energetic and satisfied with life reduced the risk of heart attack, sudden cardiac death and other serious heart problems as much as 50 percent. The mechanisms behind the protective effect of being upbeat are unclear, she said.

The study was published in the American Journal of Cardiology. -- HealthDay