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Marriage can reduce risk of heart disease and stroke

Tuesday 26th June 2018
Marriage may help protect people against heart disease and stroke, according to a new study.
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People who are married generally experience a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a new study.

The Keele University research analysed data from 34 prior studies published between 1963 and 2015, involving more than two million people aged 42 to 77 from various parts of the world. It was revealed that individuals who were not married were 42 per cent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 16 per cent more likely to experience coronary artery heart disease.

They were also shown to be at 42 per cent greater risk of coronary heart disease and 55 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke than those who were married.

Further analysis revealed that divorce was associated with a 35 per cent higher risk of developing heart disease for both men and women, while widowers of both sexes were 16 per cent more likely to have a stroke. Meanwhile, those who had never been married were 42 per cent more likely to have a stroke after first suffering a heart attack.

The researchers suggested a number of potential reasons why this might be the case, including the fact that having a partner around means that health problems are more likely to be identified sooner. People who are married also tend to have better financial security, a larger friendship network and generally higher wellbeing, as well as being more likely to adhere to their medication.

Lead researcher Chun Wai Wong, from Keele University, said: "Our findings suggest that marriage has a protective effect on cardiovascular diseases; however, this could be attributed to the additional social and emotional support provided by having a spouse.

"The important message is to evaluate patients' social circumstances, including marital status, and consider the need for additional support as part of the holistic management."

Written by Mathew Horton

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