New research presented at a heart conference in the UK bodes well for those that have said “I do” to holy matrimony.
Results of the study, conducted on a million adults, concluded that marriage appears to be good for your health, boosting your survival chances if you have a major heart risk factor such as high cholesterol.
During their presentation at the British Cardiovascular Society, researchers suggested that the health benefits are likely due at least in part to having a loving spouse to encourage you to take practice better self-care.
For the study, researchers selected only participants with high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes — and determined with absolute certainty that the married ones fared much better than those who were single.
Happily Ever After?
The elite team behind the study, led by Dr. Paul Carter, had previously discovered that there was a correlation between marriage and the likelihood of surviving a heart attack.
The latest research not only confirmed their previous findings, but also offered hints as to why.
For the study, the team hypothesized that marriage serves as a buffer against big heart disease risk factors, including cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The team analyzed deaths from all causes, including heart disease and found that men and women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s with high cholesterol were 16% more likely to be alive at the end of the 14-year ACALM study if they were married rather than single.
The same was true for diabetes and high blood pressure, with married people having a survival advantage.
It is important to note that results weren’t as clear for people cohabiting, separated, divorced or widowed.
Also, worth mention is that researchers did not measure the happiness of the wedded people in their marriage. They suspect having someone special in your life is what’s important, rather than simply getting hitched.
Dr. Carter said: “We need to unpick the underlying reasons a bit more, but it appears there’s something about being married that is protective, not only in patients with heart disease but also those with heart disease risk factors.
“We’re not saying that everyone should get married though. We need to replicate the positive effects of marriage and use friends, family, and social support networks in the same way.”
Dr. Mike Knapton, of the British Heart Foundation, attributes these findings to social interaction in relationships. “The take-home message is that our social interactions, as well as medical risk factors such as high blood pressure, are important determinants of both our health and wellbeing. Whether you are married or not, if you have any of the main risk factors for heart disease, then you can call upon loved ones to help you to manage them.”
Heart issues shouldn’t be taken lightly regardless of age or marital status.
Here are some of the biggest risk factors:
- high blood pressure
- high blood cholesterol
- being overweight/obese
- being physically inactive
- a family history of heart disease
- age (risk goes up with age)
So there you have it, next time you married folks start regretting your trip down the aisle, or you single ladies are shooting down anyone ready to “put a ring on it” — think about your heart health. It could save your life.
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