Thoughtful words help couples stay fit
Couples who are hostile to each other show health impairments and are at greater risk of disease, says study. Couples who bring thoughtful words to a fight release lower stress-related proteins.sex and relationships Updated: Nov 14, 2009 19:06 IST
Previous research has shown that couples who are hostile to each other show health impairments and are at greater risk of disease.
Now, researchers in the US have found that couples who bring thoughtful words to a fight release lower amounts of stress-related proteins, suggesting rational communication between partners can ease the impact of marital conflict on the immune system.
Individuals in a stressful situation - as in a troubled relationship - typically have elevated levels of chemicals known as cytokines. These proteins are produced by cells in the immune system and help the body mount an immune response during infection.
However, abnormally high levels of these proteins are linked to illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, arthritis and some cancers, say researchers.
"Typically, if you bring people to a lab and put them under stress, either by engaging them in a conflict or giving them a public speaking task, you can see an increase in proinflammatory cytokines such as Interleukin-6 (Il-6) and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)," lead researcher Prof Jennifer Graham of Penn State University said.