Is There a Link Between Love and Health?

Is there a link between love and health?

First published 14 February 2018  |  Last updated 24 September 2020

On Valentine's Day many people think about romance and how they can spoil their spouse.

Although there's a few different theories about the origins of the occasion on February 14, it's still dubbed as 'the most romantic day of the year' and is celebrated the world over.

At Compare Cover, we've been asking ourselves how romance impacts our lives and our health, if at all.

Does love improve our health, and if so, how and why?

As a result, we've delved into different studies and research surrounding this topic to find out more about the link between love and health.

Reducing the risk of angina and ulcers

Angina occurs when the blood supply to the heart is reduced, causing chest pain. There are many factors that can contribute to the likelihood of suffering from angina, such as smoking and obesity. However, some studies have suggested that a happy marriage can actually reduce the risk - at least it can if you're a man.

One study by the American Journal of Medicine found that men who felt 'loved and supported' by their spouse had a reduced risk of angina. Another study found that men had a higher chance of developing a duodenal ulcer if they had family problems and didn't feel loved and supported by their wife.

Boosting the immune system

Having a healthy immune system can be an important factor in staying healthy, helping us to ward off illnesses and infections.

According to an article by Harvard Health Publishing, one area of research has found that couples suffering marital problems show signs of reduced immunity.

It's also been suggested that positive relationships can help relieve harmful levels of stress, which can adversely affect coronary arteries, gut function and insulin regulation.

Living a longer life

Another article by Harvard Health Publishing quoted a study of 309,000 people that found a lack of strong social relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% - an effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity.

Managing a broken heart

Some studies have looked at the way chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, are managed by those in romantic relationships. While love may not be able to cure chronic illnesses, management of a chronic disease could be improved by being in a loving and stable relationship, as this could encourage an individual to take better care of their health.

However, the research does recognise that this may be linked to personality traits:

"Many of the qualities that make people good at relationships - their personality, their level of emotional adjustment and the like - also make them more likely to be healthy, to deal with stress better, to sleep well."

Perhaps both factors - a healthy relationship and the right personality traits - can have a huge impact on our health and how we deal with chronic illnesses such as heart disease.

Protecting those you love

Looking after one another is often an important part of a romantic relationship, and this often means looking to the future needs of your spouse. Many couples may choose to consider the benefits of life insurance so they can ensure their loved one is cared for should the worst happen.

At Compare Cover, you can compare life insurance quotes online from a variety of UK insurance providers in a matter of minutes. For more information about life insurance, you can read our FAQs about life insurance and use our life insurance calculator to get an idea of the cover you may need.

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