Cardiac autonomic modulation related to prayer may contribute to the reduced cardiovascular mortality associated with religiosity/spirituality
Corresponding AuthorJulio Cesar Tolentino
Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine. Department of Clinical Medicine, Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
A B S T R A C T
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. During the past few decades, several studies have demonstrat¬ed an association between religiosity/spirituality and beneficial effects on mental and physical health. Longitudinal studies have found significant association between regular attendance at religious services and reduced all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. Among the several potential pathways of higher religiosity/spirituality, there are biological mechanisms such as decrease the inflammatory cytokines and cortisol levels, enhance of parasympathetic activation and attenuation of sympathetic nervous system activity. Prayer can be a possible mediator of the positive religiosity/spirituality effects in the cardiovascular system. The objective of this article is to review the potential mechanisms by which prayer interferes in the cardiovascular system, and which would explain its influences in cardiac mortality and morbidity. We found that prayer was associated with a lower prevalence of coronary artery disease. Studies have demonstrated that prayer was associated with a parasympathetic activity increase and decrease in the sympathetic nervous system component. In conclusion, prayer had been linked to higher levels of cardiac autonomic, a condition that is associated with a reduced risk of cardiac arrhythmias, and cardiac mortality. Scientific research on the health benefits of prayer should be expanded, aiming to obtain a clearer understanding of the possible positive action of prayer on the cardiovascular system, especially in the cardiac autonomic modulation. Although there is no recommendation of prayer prescription by cardiologists, the pivotal effects of this spiritual practice should be known within the cardiology.
Article TypeReview of Literature
Publication historyReceived: Sat 01, Jun 2019
Accepted: Fri 21, Jun 2019
Published: Mon 15, Jul 2019
Copyright© 2021 Julio Cesar Tolentino. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Hosting by Science Repository.