Meditation boosts quality of life in people with heart disease

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A four-month meditation practice can significantly enhance the quality of life for patients diagnosed with coronary artery disease, according to a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s ESC Preventive Cardiology 2023 conference.

Stress, anxiety, and depression often accompany a heart disease diagnosis and can exacerbate the condition.

However, this study’s findings suggest meditation can be an effective tool for managing these psychological symptoms, alongside standard exercise rehabilitation.

Ana Luisa Vitorino Monteiro, a meditation teacher, and scientific researcher from the University of Lisbon, led the study, which examined the impact of meditation on stress, anxiety, depression, and overall quality of life in patients with coronary artery disease.

The study included 40 patients, with an average age of 65 years and a gender ratio of 80% men to 20% women, who had participated in an exercise-based cardiovascular rehabilitation program for at least six months.

Participants were randomly divided into two groups, one of which incorporated four months of meditation practice with usual care, and the other continued with the standard exercise program alone.

The study utilized karuna meditation, a practice centered on breathing and cultivating compassionate thoughts.

Participants in the meditation group initially attended weekly 90-minute sessions for one month.

For the following three months, they were encouraged to meditate independently for 20 minutes daily, optionally using a recording provided by the researchers, and had a weekly phone consultation to address any questions or issues.

The researchers assessed stress, anxiety, depression, and quality of life at the start of the study and after four months using the Perceived Stress Scale, Beck Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, and HeartQoL questionnaire, respectively.

At the study’s conclusion, the meditation group demonstrated an average reduction in depression, stress, and anxiety scores by 44%, 31%, and 29%, respectively.

In comparison, the group that received usual care alone saw only a 3% decrease in each of these metrics.

Furthermore, scores on the emotional dimension of quality of life improved by 60% in the meditation group, whereas they fell by 2% in the usual care group.

Vitorino Monteiro emphasized the simplicity and accessibility of meditation, requiring no special equipment and being feasible to perform almost anywhere.

The study supports the efficacy of meditation in alleviating psychological distress and enhancing quality of life in heart disease patients, possibly prompting healthier lifestyle choices.

While these results are promising, larger and longer-term studies are needed to confirm these findings and explore the direct influence of meditation on cardiovascular health.

If you care about heart health, please read studies that yogurt may help lower the death risks of heart disease and natural coconut sugar could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that Vitamin D deficiency can increase heart disease risk, and results showing vitamin B6 linked to lower death risk in heart disease.

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