Among men, a number of published studies report that being married associated with a lower mortality from ischemic heart disease. Sarah Floud, from Oxford University (United Kingdom), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 734,626 women, mean age 60 years, without previous heart disease, stroke or cancer, and who were followed prospectively for hospital admissions and deaths; the role of 14 socio-economic, lifestyle and other factors was investigated. The researchers found that married women, or those living with a partner, had the same risk of developing heart disease as unmarried women (this included single, widowed and divorced women). But the chance of dying from heart disease was 28% lower; or, as the lead author explains: “over 30 years, about three in 100 married women would die from heart disease compared with about four in 100 women who are not married or living with a partner.” The study authors posit that the partners of married women may encourage them to seek early medical treatment for symptoms; or that partners tend to encourage their spouses to take medication and make changes in unhealthy lifestyles.
Sarah Floud, Angela Balkwill, Dexter Canoy, F Wright, Gillian Reeves, Jane Green, Valerie Beral, Benjamin Cairns, and the Million Women Study Collaborators. “Marital status and ischemic heart disease incidence and mortality in women: a large prospective study.” BMC Medicine 2014, 12:42.
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