Feeling Loved Good for Heart Disease Prevention

by Jodee on February 12, 2009

Having a good relationship with your significant other not only feels good, but it can help to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Research has found that women with heart disease who said that they felt loved and supported by a partner tend to have less serious blockage of the arteries than those who did not have a good romantic relationship. The same relationship between a supportive partner and severity of heart disease symptoms was found in men.

When scientists at Yale University studied the coronary arteries of 119 people, they found that the people who reported that they felt loved had less severe blockages. The quality of the relationship was found to be more important than the number of relationships a person had. Interestingly enough, this finding was quite independent of other factors that determine the level of risk for heart disease, such as family history, level of exercise, smoking, and diet.

The results of a study conducted in 1992 were equally as interesting. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center considered the effect having someone you can confide in regularly has on heart disease. All the 1,400 people who participated had blocked coronary arteries. Five years later, the participants who were not married and did not have someone to talk to about personal matters were three times more likely to have died than those people with at least one person they could confide in.

Canadian research shows similar results. People who have close relationships (romantic or otherwise) with other people had a 50 percent lower risk of heart attack. The lack of support may mean that people at risk are less likely to get prompt treatment for symptoms and may be less likely to stick to the follow-up program suggested by their doctor.

People who are either married or have a close relationship with another person are more likely to take better care of themselves than people who are on their own. They are less likely to smoke and are more physically active.

Anxiety and stress levels tend to be lower for these people as well. Conversely, being involved in a relationship that is negative or full of stress doesn’t have these positive effects on the cardiovascular system.

If you already have a good relationship with a significant other, then do what you can to preserve it. Make a point of spending time together doing something that you both find enjoyable. Being physically active together is good for your heart and will help your relationship, too.

Find ways to communicate effectively about your needs and to resolve conflicts. It is probably unrealistic to strive for a conflict-free relationship, so you need to develop these skills to deal with the issues that will inevitably come up.

If you don’t have a significant other in your life, you can get support from a friend. Find someone that you can talk to about how your life is going and do the same for them. Your arteries will be much healthier for it.

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