The Power of Friendship in Healthcare

friendship, healthcare

In recent news, a dear friend from high school donated an organ to save his friend's toddler. Can having friends and your close friendships affect your health and the health care you receive? Doctors say yes.

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Ryan and Ashley Wagner were so happy when their first newborn came to this earth. But soon after, Ryan was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and then their newborn developed a life-threatening illness that required a liver and kidney transplant. Thankfully, the toddler got a successful liver transplant.

But his kidney transplant was a different story. The transplant list was six years long, and the couple became desperate. They turned to Facebook for help – and sure enough, an old high school friend of Ryan and Ashley's became touched by their plight and agreed to donate her kidney.

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Doctors, nurses, physical assistants, and medications aren't the only factors in healthcare. Friendship matters too! Had it not been for Facebook and friends, the Wagners' baby would've died unable to secure the kidney he needed to save his life.

That's not all friendship can do – researchers found that the more Facebook friends you have, the less disease-causing stress you'll have. Psychologists also found that more Facebook friends and closer relationships with your Facebook network friends leads to lower mortality rates. That means that the quality and quantity of your Facebook friends could lengthen your life!

It affects cancer treatment too! According to the Cleveland Clinic, cancer patients who are married are 20 percent more likely to survive than unmarried cancer patients. Why? Married cancer patients have someone to hold their hand, reducing stress, depression, and anxiety – which can all lower the immune system and consequently, the body's ability to fight cancer. Having a spouse also means you'll have someone to help you take your medications, take you to appointments, and just lessen daily burdens. Perhaps unmarried cancer patients are more likely to get insufficient healthcare when they're too weak to get to procedures and doctor's visits.

What's the bottom line? Make friends and keep them. The old saying is true, friends are worth more than gold – because they influence your health.

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