HEALTH

Women Who Are Optimistic May Reduce Their Risk Of Deadly Diseases

A good reason to think of the glass as 'half full'.

08/12/2016 10:03 PM AEDT | Updated 08/12/2016 10:03 PM AEDT

Women who have an optimistic outlook on life may live longer than those who do not.

In a study of more than 70,000 women, optimists were found to have a reduced risk of five deadly diseases.

Those with a sunny disposition were less likely to suffer from heart disease, cancer, lung conditions, infection and Type 2 diabetes than others.

While the researchers said there may be some link between optimism and healthy lifestyle choices - such as eating healthily and doing exercise - they said having a positive attitude may improve life chances in itself.

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The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, analysed data from a survey of more than 70,000 women with an average age of 70.

The women were asked to rate how optimistic they felt, on a scale of 0-24.

The participants were then monitored over the next eight years and researchers recorded any deaths that were related to disease.

Over the course of the study, there were a total of 4,566 deaths. 

The most optimistic women were found to have a 30% lower risk of death from the five causes than the least optimistic women.

The most optimistic women were 38% likely to die from heart disease and 39% less likely to die from stroke than women at the other end of the scale.

What’s more, they were also 52% less likely to die from an infection, 38% less likely to die from lung disease and 16% less likely to die from cancer than their pessimistic counterparts.

The researchers suggested optimism may not only improve our mental health, but may have a biological impact on our physical health.

The good news is we’re a nation of optimists.

Contrary to our reputation for moaning, previous research from University College London found that four in five Brits tend to look on the bright side of life.

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