Study Reveals Increased Heart Attack Risk For Divorcees

By @hyaluronidase on
A Document Filing for Divorce
IN PHOTO: An application for an index number to the New York County Clerk pertaining to divorce documents filed by News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi Deng Murdoch is seen at the State Supreme Courthouse in New York, June 13, 2013. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from his wife Wendi, the company confirmed on Thursday, just days before News Corp. itself splits into two.The reasons for the filing were not immediately clear, though a spokesman for Murdoch said the marriage had been irretrievably broken for more than six months. Murdoch, 82, married the former Wendi Deng, 44, in 1999. Reuters/Brendan McDermid

A new study reveals that women who have gone through divorce once, or men who have gone through divorce at least twice, are predisposed to risk of heart attack compared to people who remained married.

A study performed by a group of researchers from Duke University involved more than 15,000 adults with an age range of 45 to 80 at the start of the study. These people have been married at least onc,e and the study followed them for 18 years from 1992 to 2010. In the course of 18 years, 1,211 of the participants suffered from heart attack, which more likely happened to those who got divorced.

In the published paper found in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, it was found that women who had divorce at least once have 24 percent likelihood of experiencing heart attacks compared to those women who stayed married. Those who were divorced more than two times have an increased risk of heart attack at 77 percent.

Matthew Dupre, senior author of the study, and his colleagues discovered that men did not carry the same risk. The risk for heart attack is only high when men have gone through divorce more than twice compared to men who stayed married.

“Earlier studies have suggested that marital loss has a greater impact on the health of women than men,” said Dupre in an email to Reuters Health. According to him, the reasons for the differences in the results are not known, but may stem from the assessment that women are more likely to go through “greater economic losses and emotional distress” compared to divorced men.  While the study offers evidence that divorce contributes to the risk of heart attack, other factors, such as elevated stress, loss of social support and anxiety were unaccounted for. 

People cannot go back and do something about their marital history just to reduce their chance of getting a heart attack, but being able to recognise that a person has an increased risk for heart attack will be a factor to consider when doctors’ need to make decisions or perform screening for divorced people.

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