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The Y Report

Heart to Heart

Light blue blood pressure cuff
Photo by XXMMXX/Getty

Friendship is good for the heart—literally. A study by BYU psychology professor Wendy C. Birmingham (BS ’06) uncovered a connection between heart health and having supportive friends and family. Typically blood pressure decreases overnight; a failure to do so is a predictor of cardiovascular disease. Birmingham found that people whose blood pressure does not lower overnight also tend to lack social support, while people with greater social support have healthier blood-pressure patterns.