Free Press Journal

Have a sense of purpose in life to protect heart


Heart Risk

New York: Having a high sense of purpose in life may lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, new study says.
The new analysis defined purpose in life as a sense of meaning and direction, and a feeling that life is worth living.  “Developing and refining your sense of purpose could protect your heart, health and potentially save your life,” said study lead author Randy Cohen, a preventive cardiologist at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai Roosevelt.

Previous research has linked purpose to psychological health and well-being.  However, the new study found that a high sense of purpose is associated with a 23 percent reduction in death from all causes and a 19 percent reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, or the need for coronary artery bypass surgery.  “Our study shows there is a strong relationship between having a sense of purpose in life and protection from dying or having a cardiovascular event.

“As part of our overall health, each of us needs to ask ourselves the critical question of ‘do I have a sense of purpose in my life?’  “If not, you need to work toward the important goal of obtaining one for your overall well-being,” Cohen explained. The research team reviewed 10 relevant studies with the data of more than 137,000 people to analyse the impact of sense of purpose on death rates and risk of cardiovascular events.  The meta-analysis also found that those with a low sense of purpose are more likely to die or experience cardiovascular events.

The paper was presented recently at the American Heart Association’s EPI/Lifestyle 2015 Scientific Sessions in Baltimore.