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      Love they say

      Having a broken heart isn't just a saying anymore. Experts have seen more and more cases of couples suffering from broken hearts.

      â??Anything that affects our mood in a downward way can certainly affect our overall heart health. Our heart needs to have lots of variability in its heart rate, where it's up and down and where we have emotions in a positive aspect can give us a positive stress in our heart and negative stresses do the same thing,â?? said Dr. Justin Puckett, D.O., of Complete Family Medicine. â??Anytime that you're in a downward funk, whether it's bad relationships, or stress at work or one of a variety of things, that can certainly play a role in heart health overall."

      The most common factor beingâ?|communication. Without this, it is difficult for couples to express themselves and intimacy can be lost.

      "People who don't communicate well and get into some bad patterns, it's a real set up for a lot of stress," said Jane Maxwell, Ph.D., L.P.C, of Maxwell Counseling Services.

      Many studies have found a correlation between the two. However, there are so many stress factors in today's world that researchers can't be sure if it's directly because of the relationship. But what they do know is that it's definitely a scary association.

      "They followed people who had classified their relationships as having trouble and those people who were in very positive relationships and they did show that people who had recurrent difficult relationships were at a higher increase of stroke and heart attack," said Puckett.

      On the plus sideâ?|there are many ways to reduce your stress levels. It's far too easy these days to get caught up with work and/or hobbies; so make sure to set aside enough time to spend with your significant other. Plan a romantic date, go for a walk or just keep it simple with a nice sit-down dinner. And most importantlyâ?|make sure you are willing to make the necessary changes.

      "Many times people aren't willing to make changes and what's really interesting is people think, yeah we have problems but itâ??s not me, itâ??s her or itâ??s him or you know whether you're straight, gay, dating, married, young or old,â?? said Maxwell. â??Many people don't want to see how they contribute to it and it's really rare that its one person causing the problems."

      Instead of playing the blame game, take an honest look at yourself to see what you can do to better the situation. As clichà as it is, it takes two; two to make the relationship and two to break it. Fixing your relationship is easier said than done. But, don't lose hope.

      "I think there's a lot of hope that people can carry on their relationship and maybe even end up in a better place," said Maxwell.

      Remember to be a supportive partner and stay positive. This will also help reduce stress and worry on your heart. Experts recommend talking to a counselor to help lessen the stress in your relationship.

      Jane Maxwell, Ph.D., L.P.C.

      Maxwell Counseling Services

      Kirksville, MO