Heart Patients who meditate may reduce risk of Death, Heart Attack or Stroke

Stethoscope - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - New research found that African Americans diagnosed with heart disease had a 48 percent reduced risk for suffering from a heart attack, stroke, or dying from all causes, if they did Transcendental Meditation instead of just attending a health education class. The researchers published their findings in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Two hundred and one people participated in the study over a five-year period. The group consisted of 42 percent women over the age of 59 with an income of less than $10,000 per year. The average body mass index (BMI) was 32, which is considered obese.

Forty one percent of the meditation group and 31 percent of the health education group took aspirin while 38 percent of the meditation group and 43 percent of the health education group smoked.

The researchers randomly assigned the participants to either a Transcendental Meditation group or a health education group. The Transcendental Meditation group was to take part in a stress-reducing program, while the health education group attended classes about lifestyle changes to improve diet and exercise. The meditation group was instructed to sit with their eyes closed for around 20 minutes twice daily to rest their body and mind, but while staying awake. The health education group participants spent at least 20 minutes daily practicing heart-healthy behaviors that they were instructed to do by professional health educators. These lifestyle behaviors included changes in exercise, preparing healthy meals, and general relaxation.

The participants underwent an evaluation at the beginning of the study, at three months, and every six months following. The evaluations involved the researchers measuring the participants' BMI. They asked about their diet and how well they adhered to the program. The participants’ blood pressure was measured and they were assessed for cardiovascular hospitalizations.

The group that participated in meditation managed to lower their blood pressure by an average 5 mm Hg compared to the education group. They also reported having less stress and anger. The more the patients meditated on a regular basis, the better survival rate they had.

There were 52 primary end-point events of either a stroke, heart attack or death. Twenty events occurred in the meditation group, and 32 events happened in the health education group.

Both groups improved on their exercise behaviors and they all reduced their alcohol consumption. The meditation group demonstrated a trend that suggested a reduction in smoking. There were no significant differences in the two groups regarding weight, exercise, or diet.

"Transcendental Meditation may reduce heart disease risks for both healthy people and those with diagnosed heart conditions," said Robert Schneider, M.D., lead researcher and director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Fairfield, Iowa.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

ref: 1

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association's policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability.

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