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Social Support May Be Key to Heart Attack Recovery

Younger patients found to fare worse with no family, friends to help post-MI

Social Support May Be Key to Heart Attack Recovery

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Young and middle-aged heart attack survivors are more likely to have poor health and low quality of life if they have fewer family and friends to support them in their recovery, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study included 3,432 survivors, aged 18 to 55, who were assessed immediately after their heart attack and again one month and 12 months later.

The first assessment found that patients with low social support were more likely to be single; be unemployed; live alone; smoke; abuse alcohol; and have heart risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression. One and 12 months after a heart attack, patients with low social support tended to have poorer mental health, more symptoms of depression, and lower quality of life.

The findings are consistent with previous studies of older heart attack patients, and suggest the need for new ways of helping heart attack survivors. "Studies like this are opening up a wide list of different types of risk factors than the ones we conventionally think about," senior study author Harlan Krumholz, M.D., director of the Center of Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, said in a journal news release.

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