Love contributes to health and well-being

Deborah L. Hopla, Guest Writer

February has Valentine’s Day as a reminder for us to turn our hearts to the one, or ones, we love. Love causes release of adrenaline, phenethylamine, dopamine and oxytocin. These chemicals cause our hearts to beat fast, our palms to sweat and a feeling of euphoria comes over us.

Testosterone levels increase in both men and women which further drives the engine of our love. Our pupils dilate showing our positive emotional feelings. Studies done at the University of Delaware found that experiencing jealousy literally “blinds” the one who is jealous.

Love reduces damaging cortisol levels, which are linked to increased visceral fat and the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Cuddling or a prolonged embrace with someone you love increases oxytocin and lowers our blood pressure.

According to Scott Haltzman, M.D., clinical assistant professor at Brown University in Providence, R.I., being married increases our longevity. In a study he conducted Haltzman states: “Ninety percent of married women age 45 who were alive at age 45 make it to age 65… while “mortality rates are 50 percent higher for unmarried women.”

Men have even more startling statistics. Men who were alive at 48 had a “ninety percent chance of reaching 65 if they were married, but only a 60 to 70 percent chance if they were single.” His research reported that even if a married man had heart disease, he lived “four years longer” than a single man with the same type of heart disease. According to Dr. Haltzman, “Cancer cures are 8 to 17 percent more successful when a patient is married.”

This spring when thoughts turn to love, know that it is good for your mind, heart and soul. Physical touch is beneficial for our sense of well-being. Love is in the air and it is a good thing. Happy Valentine’s Day to all in love and best of luck to those looking to be in love. Ahhh amore.