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Marriage May Protect Against Cardiovascular Disease

Association seen between marital status and risk, prognosis of coronary heart disease or stroke

THURSDAY, July 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Marital status may influence cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and prognosis after CVD, according to a review published online June 19 in Heart.

Chun Wai Wong, from the University of Keele in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies that evaluated the association between marital status and risk of CVD (coronary heart disease [CHD] or stroke incidence and mortality).

The researchers identified 34 studies representing more than two million participants. Being unmarried (never married, divorced, or widowed) was associated with increased odds of CVD (odds ratio [OR], 1.42; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1 to 2.01), CHD (OR, 1.16; 95 percent CI, 1.04 to 1.28), CHD death (OR, 1.43; 95 percent CI, 1.28 to 1.6), and stroke death (OR, 1.55; 95 percent CI, 1.16 to 2.08), compared with married participants. For both men and women, being divorced was associated with increased odds of CHD, while widowers were more likely to experience a stroke. Compared with married participants, single men and women with myocardial infarction had increased mortality (OR, 1.42).

“Marital status appears to influence CVD and prognosis after CVD,” the authors write. “Future research should focus around whether marital status is a surrogate marker for other adverse health behavior or cardiovascular risk profiles that underlies our reported findings, or whether marital status should be considered as a risk factor by itself.”

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