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Marriage Cuts the Risk of Heart Attack in Both Men and Women

Update Date: Jan 31, 2013 08:11 AM EST

Being married increases the odds of survival after a heart attack in both men and women across all age groups, say researchers of a new study from Finland.

The data for the study was obtained from health registries from Finland that had records of all fatal and non-fatal cardiac events ("acute cardiac syndromes", ACS) that had occurred in certain regions of the country.

During the study period, there were some 15,330 ACS events and more than half of these resulted in death within the first 28 days. Although men and women were at equal risk of dying post a cardiac event, researchers found that unmarried men and women were at a higher risk (58 to 66 percent for men and 60 to 65 percent for women) of dying when compared to married and women in the same age category.

When it came to the differences in death rates within 28 days of the cardiac event, unmarried people had the highest rates, with the mortality being around 60-168 percent higher in unmarried men and 71-175 percent higher in unmarried women, according to a news release.

One of the reasons why married people have better survival rates is that living around people increases odds that somebody will notice the signs of heart attacks and call for help. Other factors are better adherence to treatments and leading a healthy lifestyle.

"We found that a larger proportion of married and cohabiting men received reperfusion therapy at acute stage which may contribute to their better survival after hospitalisation. Lower adherence to secondary preventive medications (aspirin, statins, beta-blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers) among the unmarried may have an adverse effect on long-term prognosis," researchers said.

The study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

A recent study paper showed that marriage affects people differently based on various factors, like it has positive effects on the health of men who were less educated, but has negative effects on women who had higher education. Another related study had found that marriage can improve a woman's health, but doesn't improve men's health.

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