Why Love Is Good For Your Heart
By: Holly L. Thacker, MD • Posted on February 01, 2016 • Updated February 01, 2022
Love Does a Heart Good
Poets, writers, vocal artists and romantics have all waxed on about love and the heart for centuries. We all intuitively know about how love is good for the heart and how lack of love is bad for the heart. Studies show that heart attack rates in married persons are lower compared to non-married persons.
We have scientific evidence that heartbreak for instance, after the death of a loved one or other stressors such as job loss can lead to illness and even higher death rates. “Broken heart syndrome,” is an actual acute stress heart condition that can abruptly occur after an intense emotional or physical stress that precipitates rapid and severe heart muscle weakness and failure leading to an abrupt cardiomyopathy (heart muscle pump weakness). Most causes of cardiomyopathy are from years of:
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Heart attacks from clogged arteries
- Prolonged alcohol or other toxin exposure
But “broken heart syndrome” can occur acutely in an otherwise normal heart. Interestingly, this condition is most common in peri- and post-menopausal women, although it has been described in men and younger women as well.
14 Tips For Treating Your Heart Right
Be good to your heart and follow these 14 tips below for a healthy heart:
- Don’t smoke or use any nicotine
- Watch your weight
- Exercise regularly
- Treat high blood pressure
- Treat diabetes
- Know your cholesterol ratios
- Eat a Mediterranean diet
- Use alcohol in moderation (for women that is a maximum of 3-5 drinks per week and no more than 1-2 in one day)
- Engage in healthy stress reduction
- Take a baby aspirin if instructed by your physician
- Carry baby aspirin in case of acute heart attack
- Learn CPR
- Do not ignore even vague symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath with exercise and for goodness sake, if you have acute chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911.
- If you are out of shape, do not go out in the cold weather after eating and engage in heavy snow shoveling.
Beyond the classic heart health advice, be sure to LOVE. Love your family, friends, your career, your hobbies, your pets and your passions.
Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be in Charge!
-Holly L. Thacker, MD
Holly L. Thacker, MD, FACP is nationally known for her leadership in women’s health. She is the founder of the Cleveland Clinic Women’s Health Fellowship and is currently the Professor and Director of the Center for Specialized Women’s Health at Cleveland Clinic and Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Thacker is also the Executive Director of Speaking of Women’s Health and the author of The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Menopause. Her special interests and areas of research include menopause and related medical problems including osteoporosis, hormone therapy, breast cancer risk assessment, menstrual disorders, female sexual dysfunction and interdisciplinary women’s health.
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