Marriage can decrease your risk of heart disease

You can’t live with them, you can’t live without them

A common enough phrase between members of the opposite sex in long-term relationships and according to new research from the online journal Heart, being married may protect you from developing heart disease and strokes. Scouring through a large body of data from heart related studies, the authors looked for the impact of marital status as a potential risk factor in conjunction with the well known ones of age, sex, diet, etc. which account for 80% of cardiovascular diseases. Analysis of the dataset shows that a trip down the aisle without getting cold feet could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 42% and coronary heart disease by 16%

And if you’re thinking of divorce, think again as the risk of developing heart disease increases by 35% for both sexes. Maybe a broken heart inflicts more than just an emotional toll, although a sudden binge on alcohol and chocolate to compensate is unlikely to be healthy!

The study did not account for the quality or type of marriage (or even whether a longterm partnership would suffice). Another unaddressed variable is children which generally appear in the same timeframe and could distort the results. As to how marriage can reduce the risk of heart disease, we still have only theories to go. Some studies have suggested that having more social ties, increases individual health. Maybe an increased responsibility and/or other low level stresses is good exercise for the heart! (Just saying!).

As the authors of the study conclude “Future research on marital status a surrogate marker for other adverse health behaviour or cardiovascular risk profiles that underlies our reported findings or whether marital status should be considered as a risk factor by itself,” ie. more check boxes on surveys!

The full publication can be accessed with the link below

http://heart.bmj.com/content/early/2018/06/06/heartjnl-2018-313005

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