My Heart Beats For You: The Benefits of Relationships for Your Heart Health

Do you have that special someone in your life that makes your heart sing? Hold on tight to that person—and in fact, anyone that you care about in life! It turns out that having positive and strong relationships in your life can actually positively impact your heart health.

According to a Harvard Health study published in December 2010, “people who have satisfying relationships have been shown to be happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.” These positive health benefits don’t stem from a love potion or some fanciful, magical source; instead, people with strong relationships rely on others to help them relieve stress. By reducing stress levels, people treat their heart better (particularly the arteries), as well as regulating insulin better, and improving their immune system.

Furthermore, whenever you do something caring for another person, you are releasing stress-reducing hormones. This is great news for those suffering from high blood pressure and other negative effects of stress: treat others with love and kindness, do something special for someone, and not only will you brighten someone’s day, but you’ll also be improving your health! It’s truly the gift of giving that can make a difference in your life.

Finally, the Harvard Health study concludes that the quantity and quality of relationships both matter. A study referenced by the Harvard Health article suggests that middle-aged women who said they had satisfying marriages were less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases, and another study points to the fact that individuals who had a number of friends and contacts were less likely to develop dementia. So even if you’re not in a relationship this Valentine’s Day, don’t despair! Be thankful for the people around you and know that being friends and caring about them could actually lead to a better quality of life.

All the doctors and staff at the Medical and Surgical Clinic of Irving wish you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy Valentine’s Day!