How rocky marriage raises heart attack risk in men not women
*Ups, downs linked to rises, falls in a man’s blood pressure, cholesterol, weight
Men in a rocky marriage are at greater risk of having a heart attack – but women are unaffected.
British researchers found the ups and downs of marital life were strongly linked to rises and falls in men’s blood pressure, cholesterol and weight – each major drivers of heart attacks and strokes. Their study, which tracked 620 married fathers for 16 years, found that when marital relations were improving, the men’s health measurements improved.
When the relationships were stable – either consistently bad or consistently happy – there was no impact on their health. But when married life was deteriorating, their health measurements also got worse.
The researchers, from the universities of Bristol and Glasgow, compared their results to the Million Women Study – an ongoing study of British women – which has found no link between marital happiness and female cardiovascular health. They believe this is because men are extremely reliant on their wives, but women have larger social networks and other ways of coping.
The scientists, writing in the BMJ Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, even suggested men in turbulent relationships should end their marriage for the sake of their health.
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