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A Happy Marriage May Be Good for Your Heart

A recent study suggests that positive interactions with your spouse or long-term partner could reduce the risk of heart disease.

Participants in the study included 282 healthy middle-aged couples who were either married or cohabitating. The researchers monitored the quality of the couples’ marital interactions every hour for a period of four days. The participants also self-monitored their interactions and labelled them as positive or negative.

The researchers additionally measured the thickness of the carotid arteries of all of the participants. The carotid arteries provide oxygenated blood to the neck and head and thickening of these arteries can lead to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the build up of fatty plaques in the interior walls of blood vessels, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the participants who had more positive interactions with their significant others had a lower risk of heart disease. They also found that negative interactions correlated with an 8.5% increase of cardiovascular disease as measured by thicker carotid arteries.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh conducted the study. It was published in the June 2014 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.

Previous studies suggest that other ways to reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease include increasing your omega-3, reserveratrol, polyphenol, and CoQ10 intake.

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