Married Women has less risk of heart attacks: A study
- Reported, February 04, 2013
married cuts your risk of having a heart attack and makes you more likely to
survive cardiac arrest if it does happen - especially if you're the wife.
A new study reveals single and divorced people have the highest risk of fatal
attacks at any age, with a greater chance of dying before getting to hospital.
The study is significant as most research suggests marriage may protect the
health of men more than women.
Experts say the benefits come from a positive effect on lifestyle, with married
couples having more money, better health habits and social support than singles.
Unmarried people are also more likely to suffer depression, which has been shown
to hamper recovery from heart attack.
The large study from Finland found the benefits occurred as early as middle age,
with couples who were married and cohabiting more likely to survive heart
attacks at any stage.
The study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, looked at
information on people over the age of 35 living in four geographical regions of
Lower levels of depression was identified at a factor that could help recovery.
All fatal and non-fatal cardiac events - known as acute cardiac syndromes or ACS
- were included.
The register recorded 15,330 ACS events including heart attacks over the study
period of ten years, with just over half (7,703) resulting in death within 28
Events occurred almost equally among men and women, but they were 58-66 per cent
higher among unmarried men and 60-65 per cent higher in unmarried women, than
among married men and women in all age groups.
The differences in deaths before 28-days were even greater, being 60-168 per
cent higher in unmarried men and 71-175 per cent higher in unmarried women, than
among married men and women.
The 28-day death rate was roughly doubled for never married, single or divorced
men and women aged 65-75 years compared with those who were married.
Wives came off best, with death rates of just 20 per cent compared with 32 per
cent in divorced women and 43 per cent among spinsters aged 35-64 years.
The rates for men aged 35-64 were 26 per cent for husbands, 42 per cent in
divorcees and 51 per cent for bachelors.
The death rate of 35-64-year-old single men and women was higher than that of
those living with one or more people. Lead author Dr Aino Lammintausta from Turku
University Hospital in Finland said previous research suggested being unmarried
or living alone increased the chances of suffering and dying from a heart attack
but rarely included data on women and older age groups. She said ‘Especially
among middle-aged men and women, being married and cohabiting are associated
with considerably better prognosis both before hospitalization and after
reaching hospital alive.
‘Marriage seems to protect women even more than men from out-of-hospital
death.‘ The lower cardiac risks of married persons may result from a protective
effect of marriage.
‘For example, they may have a better financial status, better health habits, and
higher levels of social support compared to the unmarried, thereby promoting
their overall health.’
Higher rates of depression among singles may play a part, although it is
possible that people with poorer health may be more prone to staying unmarried
or getting divorced.
Having someone close to raise the alarm during a heart attack could be
important, she said. ‘It may be assumed that resuscitation or calling for help
was initiated faster and more often among those married or cohabiting.’
Married people also seemed to get better treatment once in hospital - including
therapy to re-open blocked arteries - and after discharge when they may be more
likely to take their medication long-term, said the researchers.
A US study last month found being married could lead to a longer life by
improving your chances of surviving middle age. It suggested for the first time
that not having a spouse in midlife increases the risk of dying during those
years, as unmarried people were almost three times as likely to die early than
those who had been in a stable marriage throughout their adult life.