clear
Wednesday May 27th, 2015 8:10PM

Married folks have fewer heart problems

By The Associated Press
Love can sometimes break a heart but marriage seems to do it a lot of good. A study of more than 3.5 million Americans finds that married people are less likely than singles, divorced or widowed folks to suffer any type of heart or blood vessel problem.

This was true at any age, for women as well as for men, and regardless of other heart disease risk factors they had such as high cholesterol or diabetes, researchers found.

"It might be that if someone is married, they have a spouse who encourages them to take better care of themselves," said Dr. Jeffrey Berger, a preventive cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.

But "we can't prove by any means cause and effect," he said.

This is the largest look at marriage and heart health, said Dr. Carlos Alviar, a cardiology fellow who led the study with Berger. Previous studies mostly compared married to single people and lacked information on divorced and widowed ones. Or they just looked at heart attacks, whereas this one included a full range from clogged arteries and abdominal aneurysms to stroke risks and circulation problems in the legs.

Researchers used health questionnaires that people filled out when they sought various types of tests in community settings around the country from an Ohio company, Life Line Screening Inc. Some of these screening tests, for various types of cancer and other diseases or conditions, are not recommended by leading medical groups, but people can still get them and pay for them themselves.

The study authors have no financial ties to the company and are not endorsing this type of screening, Berger said. Life Line gave its data to the Society of Vascular Surgery and New York University to help promote research.

The results are from people who sought screening from 2003 through 2008. Their average age was 64, nearly two-thirds were female and 80 percent were white. They gave information on smoking, diabetes, family history, obesity, exercise and other factors, and researchers had blood pressure and other health measures.

The study found:

-Married people had a 5 percent lower risk of any cardiovascular disease compared to single people. Widowed people had a 3 percent greater risk of it and divorced people, a 5 percent greater risk, compared to married folks.

-Marriage seemed to do the most good for those under age 50; they had a 12 percent lower risk of heart-related disease than single people their age.

-Smoking, a major heart risk, was highest among divorced people and lowest in widowed ones. Obesity was most common in those single and divorced. Widowed people had the highest rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and inadequate exercise.

Researchers don't know how long any study participants were married or how recently they were divorced or became widowed. But the results drive home the message that a person's heart risks can't be judged by physical measures alone - social factors and stress also matter, said Dr. Vera Bittner, a cardiologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

She heads the heart disease prevention committee of the American College of Cardiology. The study results were released on Friday ahead of presentation this weekend at the group's annual meeting in Washington.

"We don't really have a clear explanation" for why marriage may be protective, Bittner said.

"You may be more willing to follow up with medical appointments," take recommended drugs, diet and exercise if you have a spouse, she said.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 4 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 4 months ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to "cynically manipulate" the process by...
9:33PM ( 4 days ago )
Obama again avoids calling 1915 Armenian killings 'genocide'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to ful...
1:00PM ( 1 month ago )
Ex-NFL star Hernandez convicted of murder, sentenced to life
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the d...
8:54PM ( 1 month ago )
Clinton kicks off 2016 campaign online, heads next to Iowa
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics on Sunday, making a much-awaited announcement she will again seek the White House with a promise to serve as the "champi...
7:56PM ( 1 month ago )
Hall, White, Jefferson schools recognized nationally for use of technology
Three school districts in northeast Georgia - Hall, White, and Jefferson - have received national recognition for their use use of innovative technologies. They earned top spots in the Center for Digital Education's and the National School Boards Association's 10th annual Digital School Districts Survey.
By Staff
1:00PM ( 1 month ago )