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Meditation is associated with a reduced risk of heart and vascular disease
In this study, meditators had the greatest reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. Meditation is thought to lower cardiovascular risk by reducing stress.
Photo: Okan Caliskan / Pixabay
People who meditate have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found.
A number of studies have shown the benefits of meditation for various conditions, such as sleep disturbances and depression. The American Heart Association announced in 2017 that meditation can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. There is some evidence that it is associated with lowering blood pressure, normalizing cholesterol levels, and quitting smoking.
The authors of the new study point out that the available scientific evidence on the effect of meditation on cardiovascular risk is relatively weak. Their new work is notable for reaching a large number of participants. The findings add to the evidence for the benefits of meditation.
Scientists from Baylor College of Medicine and their co-authors used data from a large annual survey that covers thousands of US residents. This National Health Interview Survey includes a wealth of information on a variety of health-related issues.
The authors of the study analyzed the data of 61 thousand people. Approximately 10% of them reported that they practice some form of meditation. It turned out that in this group, both risk factors for heart and vascular diseases and these diseases themselves are much less common than among non-meditators:
ischemic heart disease - by 49%;
- high blood cholesterol levels - by 35%;
- diabetes - by 30%;
- stroke - by 24%;
- hypertension - by 14%.
“I believe in meditation because it can give us a sense of peace and relief from stress, leading to an improvement in our emotional state,” explained Chayakrit Krittanawong, co-author of the study.
The authors point out that lifestyle factors that accompany meditation may have contributed to these research findings. They found that, in this case, physical activity and alcohol restriction were at least partially responsible for the reduction in cardiovascular risk.
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