Cardiologists Are Happy(ish), Married Non-Tweeters, Survey Reveals

Cardiologist lifestyle survey captures health, pastimes, beliefs

Shelley Wood

March 22, 2012

March 22, 2012 (New York, New York) — Cardiologists, for the most part, drive Japanese cars, believe in a higher power, and are moderately savvy when it comes to social media. Those are just some of the pearls from a lifestyle survey of physicians conducted by Medscape and published online today.

Asked to rank their level of happiness outside of their work on a scale of 1 to 5, the 762 cardiologists who replied to the survey provided an average happiness score of 3.92. That puts them 15th out of the 25 specialties surveyed, where rheumatologists, dermatologists, and urologists were the happiest, with scores of 4.04 to 4.09, and neurologists were, it seems, the glummest about their nonworking lives, with scores of 3.88.

A full 85% of cardiology respondents were married — a number higher than that for physicians as a whole (81.2%), but they also had a higher rate of divorce/separation, at 5.5% as compared with 3.3%. Three-quarters of cardiologists who responded to the survey described themselves as "fiscally conservative" (including 35% who described themselves as fiscally and socially conservative), and 54% described themselves as "social liberals" — both of those figures are higher than for physicians as a whole.

On the health front, less than 1% of cardiologists are current smokers — slightly less, on average, than all physicians surveyed; 25% are teetotalers, while roughly 57% said they drink less than one drink per day, similar to the pattern seen among all physicians.

When it comes to physical health, roughly 48% of cardiologists age 31 to 40 exercise at least twice a week, a percentage that rose to 63.3% for cardiologists in their 50s — slightly better than the average for all physicians in this age group. On a scale of 1 to 5, cardiologists on average ranked their physical health as 4.17, making them fifth out of 25 specialties (dermatologists gave themselves the highest marks, at 4.23).

Strikingly, however, 33.5% of cardiologists described themselves as overweight and 4% as obese. By comparison, of all male physicians who responded to the survey, 37% reported being overweight and 5.3% obese, while 26% of all female physicians reported being overweight and 6.2% obese.

Nearly 85% of cardiologists said they were religious/spiritual, with almost half of these saying they actively participate in or attend services. That's just slightly higher than the average for physicians as a whole. Asked what they would do if diagnosed with a terminal illness, cardiologists overwhelmingly said they would choose palliative care and quality of life over length.

Questioned about their use of social media, just 23% of cardiologists between 31 and 40 said they do not use any social sites, a number that rose to 55% among those aged 61 to 70. Facebook was far and away the most popular site across age groups, followed by LinkedIn, then Twitter — this last used by less than 10% of cardiologists across all age groups. Of note, the number of cardiologists not on any social sites was higher than for all physicians, on average, where that number fell to about 18%.

Additional survey nuggets include the fact that the most common car brands driven by cardiologists are Toyota, Lexus, and Honda, and the preferred pastimes include exercise, reading, and travel (preferably to foreign locales).

More than 29 000 US physicians, across 25 specialty areas, responded to the Medscape survey over a two-week period in January.

View the complete Medscape Physician Lifestyle Report.

Both theheart.org and Medscape are professional news services of WebMD.

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