Marriage reduces heart attack risk
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Why should single living or being unmarried be associated with such a greater susceptibility to coronary events, and particularly fatal events? The authors suggest several possibilities:
Differences in the prevalence of traditional cardiovascular risk factors. "We cannot exclude the possibility that persons with poor health status may be more prone to staying unmarried or getting divorced," the researchers stated.
Married people may be better off, have better health habits, and enjoy higher levels of social support than the unmarried, which will all promote their overall health.
Better prospects in the pre-hospital phase because of earlier intervention.
"It may be assumed that resuscitation or calling for help was initiated faster and more often among those married or cohabiting," they said.
Better treatment once in hospital and after discharge. "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," they added.
However, lead author Dr Aino Lammintausta from Turku University Hospital in Finland also noted that these differences in prognosis cannot be fully explained by differences in treatment-seeking time or access to effective therapy.
The study has been published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
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