Are happy people more likely to reduce heart scan scores?

I was talking to Darryl, a patient today: 71 years old with a heart scan score of 378, as well as an enlarged aorta (4.5 cm).

We had identified numerous lipoprotein abnormalities 12 months ago and advised him on a program for correction. His patterns included small LDL, high triglycerides, sky-high IDL (VERY important when you have an enlarged aorta), and lipoprotein(a). Blood pressure was also high, another crucial fact to correct when the aorta is enlarged.

Anyway, Darryl corrected lipoproteins to perfection: basic lipids were substantially better than 60-60-60; lipoprotein(a) was reduced well into the desirable range; IDL was eliminated; blood pressure was 108/64. Repeat heart scan score: 354.

There's nothing spectacular about Darryl's story, except that, despite these issues, Darryl was a happy man. He smiled throughout our conversation. He has told me on several occasions how grateful he is for the life he has.

Darryl is not wealthy. He retired around 4 years ago and fills his day with helping his wife, walking outdoors, helping out at his church, and contributing to the care of his grandchildren. Through all this Darryl is incurably, unfailingly, and irrepressibly happy.

It made me think back through all the other people who've also had great succes in their Track Your Plaque program. It struck me that, for the most part, they too were a happy bunch: generally optimistic, happy, not overly stressed nor prone to extremely stressful responses to stressful situations. All seem to also be grateful for the good in their lives, though most had no more money than the average person and had their share of difficulties in life. In fact, I can only recall one person who reversed coronary plaque who was an angry, pessimistic personality. Just one.

Could it be that happy, optimistic people are more likely to reverse coronary plaque? It would, after all, be consistent with all the other observations that type A personalities have more heart attack, etc.

Anyway, this is just an informal observation but one that seems very consistent. Track your plaque--and be happy!