Happy Valentine’s Day!
Good news for married couples who worry about heart disease.
According to an online report in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, marriage decreases the risk of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and the risk of death due to ACS in both men and women and at all ages.
Acute coronary syndrome is an umbrella term used by physicians to describe any condition brought on by sudden, reduced blood flow to the heart including heart attack or unstable angina (chest pain felt while at rest or while doing light physical activity).
Previous studies focusing on middle aged men have found that being unmarried and living alone was associated with a higher risk of dying from ACS. These studies provided little information about women or older adults. Moreover, the majority were conducted decades ago, when there were fewer unmarried adults.
To determine the impact of marital status today on ACS, principal investigator Aino Lammintausta, MD, of Turku University Hospital and colleagues analyzed data from a Finnish registry of patients aged 35 to 99 with suspected heart attacks during 1993 to 2002.
The researchers found that the unmarried men and women in the group had higher rates of ACS and were twice as likely to die after an ACS event when compared with the married men and women. This was true regardless of age. Much of the difference in mortality between the groups was attributed to sudden out-of-hospital cardiac death.
What was especially surprising to the Finnish researchers was the fact that the disparity between mortality risks in married and unmarried individuals increased over the 15-year study period. The variation could not be explained by differences in how they were treated.
For those in the US who are inclined to reject marriage (only 51 percent of American adults are married today), you may want to re-consider. Not only are the tax benefits better, but marriage just might reduce your risk of heart attack!