When you fall in love, it's more than just an emotional thing. The human body can experience chemical and physiological reactions as you fall in love with someone else. And while some of these reactions and experiences are only temporary, others can linger a little bit longer if the relationship progresses and lasts long-term. If you're in a relationship and wondering how your partner might respond to falling in love, there will be some physical responses, some noticeable and some not so noticeable. There are some ways the male heart and body react to falling in love, according to a cardiologist, that you might want to know, but that can be applicable for the female heart and body as well.
"The complexity of the emotions elicited by being attracted to someone else will eventually lead to reactions fairly similar to stimulant drugs," Dr. Ida Mazza, MD, a board-certified cardiologist at Tenet Florida Physician Services, tells Romper by email. "The reason is a series of truly fascinating chemical reactions which occur throughout the nervous and endocrine system which generate the 'euphoria' associated to love and attraction."
In addition to these chemical reactions, Mazza says that there are some physical reactions and responses affiliated with falling in love that affect both the heart and body (that are often tied to the chemical and hormonal responses). From general cardiovascular health to the immune system, blood pressure, pain tolerance, and more, there are a number of ways that a male (or female) heart and body is affected when they fall in love.
1. Your Heart Rate Increases
"Blame adrenaline and norepinephrine for the increased heart rate and sweatiness," Mazza says. Neurotransmitters and hormones like norepinephrine, dopamine, adrenaline, cortisol, oxytocin, and more cause a lot of the physical effects that you feel when falling in love. Just like adrenaline makes your heart pound when you're nervous or scared, it has that same effect when you're falling for someone (which, of course, can itself come with feelings of nervousness or even a little bit of a good sort of fear mixed with excitement).
2. Your Blood Pressure Goes Down
Mazza says that another thing that happens when you're falling in love is that your blood pressure decreases. That's, again, due to fluctuating hormones and other chemical changes.
3. Your Immune System Gets A Bit Stronger
Falling in love isn't all feeling weak in the knees or a tiny bit sick to your stomach, it also can have some actual health benefits. One such benefit? When you fall in love, your immune system can actually get a little bit stronger, Mazza says.
4. You Have A Lower Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
Centers of Disease Control and Prevention statistics note that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to statistics from early 2017. And people should definitely be aware of the risk factors. That being said, Mazza says that falling in love can actually lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
5. You're Alert & Have More Energy
"In general, the person falling in love will have increased energy [and] decreased need of sleep and appetite, but at the same time will feel full of energy and 'high,'" Mazza says. "MRI studies done in the brain of a person abusing cocaine looks very similar to a person which is in the acute phases of love."
If you feel "alive" when falling in love, you're certainly not alone. And it's the chemical reactions in your body that are making you feel that way.
6. Your Stress Level Decreases
If you notice that spending time with your partner makes you feel far less stressed (after the initial nerves you might feel around them), that's not necessarily out of the ordinary either. Mazza says that falling in love can lead to lower stress levels. And, really, who doesn't want that?
7. You Have An Increased Tolerance To Pain
A higher pain tolerance is another way the body (any body) changes when you're falling in love, Mazza says. Plus, you might be less afraid of risks you're facing or potentially hurting yourself, she adds.
"All [of these] effects are mostly transient if seen by its 'hormonal phase,' but long-lasting if seen in the long-term relationship evolution," Mazza says.
Your heart and body can undergo quite a few physiological and chemical changes when you fall in love. Ultimately, it's so much more than meets the eye.