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Holding Hands Is Good For The Heart

A trained observer is what most electrophysiologists are. And being a trained observer carries over into real life, as would the handiness of a plumber, or the strength of a brick layer, or the wordsmithing of a journalist.

Will and I drive past our house.

“Where are we going now,” he asks in the exasperated tone of a 13 year old.

I need to take a picture.


Because middle-aged patients who’ve recently realized that their life is half over often seek clues to longevity.

Let’s take stressed-out, middle-aged patients who’ve somehow been rendered free of AF (maybe by a skillful ablation, or more likely just happenstance). Let’s also say they don’t smoke, drink excessively, have normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar, and aren’t obese. Is there anything else they can do to live longer, they often ask? Yes, I believe there is.

It’s pictured here:

If the final common pathway of successful aging lies in soothing the effects of life’s inflammation, this picture speaks volumes. These two neighbors have been happily married for nearly 65 years. They walk by our house hand-in-hand nearly every day. They talk to each other and they like each other. Trained observer or not, this is obvious.

He’s had significant heart disease for a very long time, but miraculously it has remained strikingly dormant.

There are oodles of websites proclaiming that healthy relationships are a key component of longevity. This I believe. The anti-inflammatory effect of real companionship cannot be mathematically measured as yet, but it’s likely as equally potent as statins or beta blockers, and surely greater than stents.

You can stomp through life like Philip Roth’s “Everyman” (who perhaps is not-so-ironically ravaged by vascular disease) or you can choose the picture above. Choices. Always, there are choices.


*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

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