Heart News 2024

1st May 2024
According to research presented at the American College of Cardiology’s recent Annual Scientific Session,  patients with a raised blood pressure saw their systolic blood pressure decline by 7 mm Hg,(average), and were also noted to have improvements in markers of blood vessel health after receiving daily smartphone messages designed to cultivate spirituality (with no emphasis on a particular religion / faith) for 12 weeks. Dr. Maria Emilia Teixeira, MD, a Cardiologist at the Medical School of Federal University of Goias in Brazil was the study’s lead author.

Approximately 50% of U.S. adults have a raised blood pressure. Despite the widespread availability of many medications and proven lifestyle modifications, it has estimated that blood pressure is not adequately controlled in about 75% of hypertensives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The authors of the study sought to find out whether an intervention focused on cultivating optimism, gratitude and forgiveness (with no emphasis on a specific religion) could positivley impact health. They selected 100 patients being treated for hypertension and randomly designated 50% to receive a focussed spiritual intervention and half, no intervention. For the spirituality intervention protocol, participants received a message everyday via WhatsApp containing messages and videos encouraging them to pause, reflect and focus on values in life, life’s purpose, or complete a task, such as writing a heartfelt message of gratitude.

At the end of 12 weeks, participants who received the spirituality intervention had a significant drop in blood pressure compared with both their own baseline blood pressure as well as the final blood pressure measurements of the control group. They also had a significant improvement in flow mediated dilatation. Participants in the control group experienced a significant worsening in flow mediated dilatation.

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