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Higher Risk of Heart Attack in People who Divorce

May 12th, 2015

Higher Risk of Heart Attack in People who Divorce

Higher Risk of Heart Attack in People who Divorce

We all are aware of the fact that getting divorced is never a pleasant thing. Two people get hitched together after falling in love. They separate only because of certain differences which they cannot iron out, however hard they try. Separating from a loved one is always difficult. It takes a huge toll on both the partners, both physically and mentally.According to a survey, divorcees are two times more likely to suffer from depression compared to people who remain married.
Some of the commonly observed symptoms in people who have divorced include an upset stomach, unexplained weight loss, pain in the body, lethargy, loss of appetite and sleep disturbances. The immune system becomes depressed and so the chances of developing infections and tumors increases. Now, a new study has found that even the chances of getting a heart attack are higher in people who have divorced compared to people who chose to remain happily married.

Study Has Found a Link Between Heart Attack and Divorce

Cardiovascular ImageA study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality Outcomes on April 14, 2015 has found a link between heart attack and divorce. Although it does not concludes that divorce is the cause of increased rate of heart attack, but it definitely finds some association between the two. The study was carried out by the researchers of the Duke University, in Durham, NC under the leadership of Matthew Dupre, an associate professor of Community and Family Medicine.
The study included 16,000 adults from the US between the ages of 45 to 80 who were either married, widowed or had taken at least one divorce. All the participants were followed from 1992 to 2010. Confounding factors like the education of the participants, their age, their income, their behavior and their score on a standard depression scale were taken care of. 14% of all the men and 19% of all the women participating in the study were divorced at the start of the study.

Important Findings of the Study

Sex After Heart AttackIt was seen that more than one third of the 15,000 participants had undergone at least one divorce by the end of the study period. By the end of the 18 years long study period, 1211 participants had suffered from a heart attack. There was 24% increased likelihood of suffering a heart attack in women who had taken one divorce. In women, who had taken two divorces, the likelihood of having a heart attack increased by 77%. Even if a woman remarried, her chances of having a heart attack were still 35% more compared to women who never had a divorce.
However, men seemed to cope better with a divorce as far as risk of heart attack goes. Their risk of getting a heart attack increased only if they were divorced twice or more. The chances of heart attack in men divorced twice or more, increased by 30% as compared to men who remained married.
In what can be termed as an interesting find, remarrying did not reduce the chances of heart attack in women divorcees.  The reason behind this discrepancy between men and women could not be explained by the study.

Women are More Prone to Have a Heart Attack After Getting Divorced

Experts have postulated several reasons behind the vulnerability of divorced women for heart attack. They feel that the level of emotional distress after divorce is more in women. They are also more likely to face greater economic problems. Compared to men, women who take a divorce are less likely to get remarried. The loneliness and anxiety may make them more prone to get a heart attack.
It has also been seen that after a divorce, people tend to get careless about their diet, do not bother to exercise, and do not go for regular medical check-ups. All these factors, when combined, may increase the chances of getting a heart attack.
“Association between Divorce and Risks for Acute Myocardial Infarction,” by Matthew E. Dupre, et al. Published on April 14 2015 in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality Outcomes, accessed on April 23, 2015. Retrieved from: https://circoutcomes.ahajournals.org/content/early/2015/04/13/CIRCOUTCOMES.114.001291.full.pdf+html

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