Happy Heart: Marriage Reduces Risk for Heart Attack in Both Genders

Who would have thought that when you say “till death do us part,” you might actually be pushing the “death” part back a few years?

A new study based out of Finland suggests that may be a likely scenario for couples, particularly middle-aged-couples, experiencing cardiac issues.

The study, recently published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, looked at 15,330 recorded fatal and non fatal cardiac events — also known as “acute cardiac syndromes” or ACS — of people aged 35 and over and found our marital status has a lot to do with our survival rate.

More specifically, researches said that middle-aged, married and cohabiting couples seem to show “considerably better prognosis of acute cardiac events both before hospitalization and after reaching the hospital alive.”

The data analysis showed a 58-66% higher rate of ACS events in unmarried men, and 60-65% higher rate in unmarried women, than among their married counterparts.

A 28-day mortality rate occurred in over half of the events over the ten-year study time period. However, these rates were 60-168% higher in unmarried men and 71-175% higher in unmarried women, than the married, cohabiting men and women in this group.

The researchers also pointed out “Statistically, the figures represented a 28-day ‘case fatality’ rate of 26% in the 35-64-year-old married men, 42% in men who had previously been married, and 51% in never-married men. Among women, the corresponding figures were 20%, 32%, and 43%.”

When it came to unmarried single folks living alone, the case fatality rate was also higher than that of singles living with one or more people in the household.

While it’s common knowledge these days that being married and living with someone has a positive effect on one’s heart health, many of the previous studies that proved this focused on men exclusively. This is one of the few such studies that have included women in the data.

So what factors might play into the high correlation between a better survival rate and being coupled up?

The study authors gave a few suggestions, including the following:

Pre-existing conditions:
“We cannot exclude the possibility that persons with poor health status may be more prone to staying unmarried or getting divorced,” the authors state.

Healthier conditions:

Married people may be better off, have better health habits, and enjoy higher levels of social support than the unmarried, which will all promote their overall health.

Earlier Intervention:
“It may be assumed that resuscitation or calling for help was initiated faster and more often among those married or cohabiting,” say the authors.