Marriage has positive impact on heart health

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by JANET ST. JAMES / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on February 14, 2013 at 9:37 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 7 at 4:14 PM

DALLAS, Texas -- Barley tea is just one of the heart healthy changes the McNeal's made after 51-year-old Grover McNeal had a heart attack two years ago, just before Valentine's Day.

"Best way to describe it is Babe Ruth took a Louisville Slugger and hit me right in the chest, " Grover said. "That's when the real pain started."

His wife, Val McNeal, said it was a scary time.

"I thought I was going to lose my husband that night."

Grover actually had a better chance of recovery because he's married.

A study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found married people are a lot only less likely to have a heart attack than single people. They're also less likely to die if they do have a spouse.

Baylor All Saints cardiologist Mohan Sathyamoorthy said the reasons are scientifically unclear, but medically important.

"We don't really understand the scientific underpinings," Sathyamoorthy said. "But we do know that through lots of different forms of study of companionship that that sense of companionship and friendship tends to be very protective for the heart."

Doctors said they also credit the support of a spouse.

After Gover's heart attack, Val bought him a treadmill, massage chair, totally changed what they ate, and which vitamins they took.

Now, every day, not just Valentine's, is a celebration of love and life.

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