February is heart awareness month, so this study in the European Society of Cardiology caught my eye. It says that being unmarried increases the risk of fatal and non-fatal heart attacks in both men and women regardless of age.
Researchers also note that being married, especially among middle-aged couples, is associated with better prognosis of acute cardiac events before hospitalization and after reaching the hospital alive. Even when the couple is unmarried but cohabitating, there is a better prognosis after coronary events before and after hospitalization. The 28-day mortality rates after heart attacks showed as much as 168 percent higher in unmarried men and 175 percent higher in unmarried women.
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This study is significant for many reasons, including the fact that past research has not included data for women. Several studies have shown that marriage or living with someone is healthier for men, but this study suggests the same effects are there for women as well.
The study cites a few reasons why couples enjoy a better prognosis than single people. It posits that people with poor health are more prone to remaining unmarried or getting divorced. That is to say, marriage might not be the cause of heart health just because the two are correlated. Another possibility is that married people enjoy higher levels of social support than unmarried people, causing them to make healthier choices overall.
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The bottom line is this: Having someone who loves you and you love is much deeper than a feeling. Feelings of love change the chemistry of our brains and our bodies at a cellular level. Just as marriage can make your heart healthy, it can also make you feel more stressed if you and your spouse don't get along. Keep reading ...
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