Marriage Is A Prescription For A Healthy Heart, Study Suggests

Being married appears to be aheart-healthy lifestyle, according to researchers.

Married men and women had lower rates of heart disease thanthose who were widowed, divorced or single, with fewerconditions like hardening of the arteries or blood clots, astudy found. The research, which analyzed medical records of 3.5million people nationwide evaluated for heart disease, waspresented today in Washington[1] at the American College ofCardiology meeting.

While reasons behind the marriage findings are unclear, itsupports previous studies that show couples tend to be healthierand live longer than singles. The study reinforces the idea thatheart health can be affected by social as well as physiologicalfactors, said Vera Bittner[2], chairwoman of ACCs Prevention ofCardiovascular Disease Committee.

We cannot estimate cardiovascular risks purely based onmetabolic abnormalities that we can measure but psychosocialvariables could also be very important, said Bittner, aprofessor of medicine at the University of [3]Alabama[4] at BirminghamSchool of Medicine, on a conference call with reporters.

The study is the largest of its kind, said Carlos Alviar[5], acardiology fellow at New York Universitys Langone MedicalCenter and the studys lead author.

The findings dont mean people should rush out and tie theknot to reduce their heart disease risk, Bittner said. Thestudies only show an association. Still, doctors need to makesure they know patients marital status and whether they havesupport when ill, she said in an e-mail.

Marriage Matters

We are not advising people to get married as a way toprevent cardiovascular disease, said Alviar in an e-mail.When it comes to cardiovascular disease, marital status doesindeed matter and it is important for clinicians to take thisinto account when they are examining patients.

Having a spouse may help promote a more robust lifestyleand ease access to medical care, researchers said.

In the study, 69 percent were married, 13 percent werewidowed, 8.3 percent were single and 9 percent were divorced.

They found that those who were married had a 5 percentlower risk of vascular disease[6], which can include conditionslike hardening of the arteries or blood clots, than singles anda 19 percent reduced chance of peripheral artery disease[7], inwhich plaque builds up in the bodys arteries. The greatestbenefit was seen in married people who were ages 50 and younger.

Both widowed and divorced men and women had higher rates ofheart disease, the study showed. Widowers and widows combinedhad a 3 percent increased risk of vascular disease and a 7percent higher chance of coronary artery disease[8], the mostcommon type of heart disease and the leading cause of death inthe U.S.

Children Effect

In a separate study analyzing family life and heart health,researchers found that women who gave birth to four or morechildren had more plaque in their hearts and thickening of theirarteries, which are early signs of heart disease, then those whohad two to three children.

The research included 1,644 women from the Dallas HeartStudy[9]. The study showed that women who had given birth to fouror more children had about a two times higher risk of havingmore plaque and thickening of their arteries than women who hadgiven birth to two or three children.

Childless women or mothers of one also showed a higherrisk. The study found a 1.9 times higher chance of plaque and1.5 times increased likelihood of thickening of the arteries inthis group, said Monika Sanghavi[10], chief cardiology fellow at theUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas[11] andthe lead author, in an e-mail.

Pregnancy Exposure

For moms with more children, it may be that repeatedexposure to higher cholesterol levels and insulin resistanceduring pregnancy may affect their future heart disease risk.Also, weight gain and other changes during pregnancy can stay onafter the baby is born raising their risk of heart disease, shesaid.

For those with no children or one child, they may haveunderlying fertility or other health issues that could raisetheir heart disease risk.

Events surrounding pregnancy and childbearing may provideinsight into a womans future risk of heart disease andstroke, she said. We need more research to understand howthe number of pregnancies a woman has might help their doctorunderstand their future cardiovascular risk as well.

To contact the reporter on this story:Nicole Ostrow in New York[12] at nostrow1@bloomberg.net[13]

To contact the editors responsible for this story:Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net[14]Angela Zimm


  1. ^ Washington (topics.bloomberg.com)
  2. ^ Open Web Site (www.uab.edu)
  3. ^ Get Quote (www.bloomberg.com)
  4. ^ Alabama (topics.bloomberg.com)
  5. ^ Open Web Site (medicine.med.nyu.edu)
  6. ^ Open Web Site (www.nlm.nih.gov)
  7. ^ Open Web Site (www.nhlbi.nih.gov)
  8. ^ Open Web Site (www.nlm.nih.gov)
  9. ^ Open Web Site (www.utsouthwestern.edu)
  10. ^ Open Web Site (www.utsouthwestern.edu)
  11. ^ Dallas (topics.bloomberg.com)
  12. ^ New York (topics.bloomberg.com)
  13. ^ Send E-mail (www.bloomberg.com)
  14. ^ Send E-mail (www.bloomberg.com)

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  1. Reply

    Am I Leading A Healthy Lifestyle? I am 16, about 5’9 and 150 lbs, but I have little to no body fat, thats pretty much all muscle, because I look really skinny, last time I got my body fat measured I was at around 9%. I play basketball for about 1 hour every day, and I also do sprinting workouts for another 30 minutes every day because I am on track.

    My diet is:
    Breakfast: 2 Weetabix w/ milk (Wheat cereal bars)
    Snack: 2 Granola Bars
    Lunch: Turkey Sub with Lettuce and Cheese
    Dinner: Pasta, Risotto, Chicken etc.
    After dinner: 6 Weetabix w/ milk.

    I drink 1 Diet Coke per day, and lots and lots of water.

    Am I leading a healthy lifestyle?
    I also take daily vitamin supplements.
    In addition to my turkey sub i usually have a chicken sandwich with lettuce and cucumber

    and for dinner i usually have like green beans, potatoes or sweetcorn with my main dish.

    1. Reply

      Definitely healthier than most but you may want to adjust your diet a little bit. At 16 you’re still growing so son’t stress too much about fat percentage, you’re obviously on the right track. It’s good to start these habits at your age because as you get older you may not be as active or be able to metabolize foods as quickly.

      First you can substitute the milk with soy milk for less fat and add a fruit to your breakfast.

      Watch the granola bars because they are not as healthy as you think. They are loaded with sugar and preservatives. Try making your own granola which is pretty easy to do, or try loose granola from a health food store.

      Turkey is the best out of processed meats but it is still processed which means lots of nitrates and sodium. If possible try fresh turkey. I would also add fruit to this meal as well. Lettuce does not have any nutritional value unless it is a spring/mescalin mix.

      Pasta and Risotto are both starches so you should watch the intake, especially if you’re worried about carbs. Chicken is usually a safe bet depending on how it is prepared. There are tons of marinades and dry rubs so that you can change it up a bit without having to fry it or dip in sauces.

      Water is great but if possible you should try to eliminate the diet soda. Diet soda is just as bad as regular soda. It may have less fat and/or calories but the sugar substitute used is one of the worst chemicals you can put in your body. Soda rots your teeth and is just an all around bad thing. Obviously one can is not the worst thing, many soda drinkers have at least a few cup/cans a day but still if you can cut it out you should.

      What’s with the Weetabix? Try new things so you don’t fall into a diet rut. Try other wheat/grain products, there are a lot out there these days. And again, I suggest fruit.

      Good luck, I’m going to grab some lunch!

  2. Reply

    What Is A Healthy Lifestyle? Im doing this assignment in science and i was wondering what do u need for a healthy lifestyle

    1. Reply

      A healthy diet is obviously an important factor. The best way to start is to simplify your diet, this means instead of focusing on calorie counting, reduce the size of your portions at each meal. Cut down on fats and carbohydrates. Make sure you are getting enough fresh fruit and vegetables daily. Reduce your intake of soda and caffeine. You will soon start to notice that you feel healthier and have more energy.

      Exercise is probably the second most important aspect to change. Exercise has a number of benefits including improving your mood, reducing chronic health problems, maintaining a healthy weight and boosting your energy.

      Reducing your stress levels is key to a healthier lifestyle. You can cut down stress by recognizing the cause of your stress, changing your habits and not making excuses for maintaining high stress levels. Practices such as yoga, tai chi and qigong are great ways to help you control stress.

      Regular sleep is much more important for your health than many people realize. If you are not getting enough sleep you will feel irritable, find it difficult to concentrate, be more prone to illness and feel fatigued and lacking energy all the time.
      Substance Use

      If you are a smoker or consume alcohol on a regular basis, you are already reducing your chances of a healthy lifestyle. Smoking increases your risk of a number of diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Drinking depletes your immune system and can cause liver damage. Talk to your doctor about improving your lifestyle by reducing your alcohol intake and quitting smoking.

      Preventative health measures are one of the best ways to ensure that you do not succumb to serious illness. Preventative health care such as regular screening, reduction of risk factors and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and high cholesterol.

      Social activities are an important part of a healthy lifestyle. All work and no play doesn’t only make you dull, it increases your stress levels and can lead to depression. Recreation time is good for stress and can improve energy levels, as well as helping balance emotions and build strong connections between friends and relatives.
      Time Out

      Take time out. Whether it’s a ten minute break during your work day, a few hours during a busy family weekend to put your feet up or a relaxing vacation to get away from it all, everybody needs time out. Allowing yourself some time to put work and other stressors such as money on the back burner and to pamper yourself it reenergizing and good for you overall health

      Healthy personal relationships are vital to good health, whether its your partner, family members of close friends. Everyone needs someone to turn to sometimes and just knowing that you have a network of supportive loved ones around you can help keep you emotionally strong.
      Positive Thinking

      Self acceptance as an important factor for a healthy lifestyle. This means thinking positively about yourself and accepting yourself for who you are, warts and all. Maintaining a positive self image helps boost your confidence, prevent depression and reduce stress.

  3. Reply

    I Want To Start Living A Healthier Lifestyle? I want to be healthier but I don’t want salads for every meal. What other foods are good to eat and what are bad?

    1. Reply

      A good healthy diet high in fiber, lean meats, eggs, complex carbohydrates, whole grains, antioxidant foods, healthy beverages and low in added sugar and salt help people lose weight, lower cholesterol, increase energy, improve brain function, lower blood pressure, reduce cancer risk and have a more positive lifestyle!
      You need to eat a lot more food and a lot more fiber!
      Diets that exclude foods from any food group are fad diets and do not lead to permanent weight loss or solve any other health issues.
      First, try to kick your fiber intake to 40 grams of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
      Whatever you do, get your fiber from your food, not from a jar.
      Fruits and vegetables have good fiber in them. A high fiber diet increases the metabolism.
      Try a breakfast cereal with at least 20% of recommended daily allowance of fiber in it. They are usually low in sugar so there is a double benefit. Blueberries or raspberries on top add more fiber and antioxidants. But fresh or frozen, not the kind in syrup. Oatmeal with berries or a bit of fresh honey is also good.
      Raw nuts are a great source of fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Avocados are the best.
      Lots of beans, peas, and grains are high fiber. Whole grain breads. Fiber kicks up the metabolism so you actually burn more calories. These foods will give you more gas in the beginning but if eaten daily, the bacteria in the digestive tract will elevate lowering the gas output.
      This will get you on the path for a healthy daily bowel movement. This helps clean the system and aids healthy digestion. A high fiber diet reduces transit time – the amount of time it takes food from when it is eaten to when it is expelled. This reduces toxicity in the system both from internally produced, ingested, and external toxins.
      Next, take an age appropriate basic daily multivitamin. Don’t look at your multivitamin as nutrition but more as an insurance policy. Think of it as filling in the gaps in your daily diet as opposed to a primary source of nutrients.
      You have to drink lots of water to be healthy. But you can disguise it. Fill your glass all the way full with ice before pouring low sugar beverages. Try iced green tea with a splash of orange juice in it for sweet. More antioxidants. Add lemon juice to water for flavor. Slice up a cucumber and float it in pitcher of water. Gives it salty fresh taste. But you must drink up to 100 oz of water daily to help your body get rid of waste and the natural toxins.
      Last, you need to get 8-9 hours of quality sleep depending on your age. All recent sleep studies report a connection between poor sleep patterns, weight gain, and lots of other health issues. This includes going to bed as close to the same time every night including weekends. Most of us stay up late Friday and Saturday night and it throws us off.
      You must combine a healthy diet with exercise to multiply the benefit. Whether an hour a day in the weight room or just a 30 minute brisk walk every day, the added benefit of a regular exercise program really do increase and accelerate overall health.

  4. Reply

    How Can I Live A More Healthier Lifestyle? Hi everyone I am a 18 year old girl who is about to start college in a few weeks. Basically I want to start living a healthier lifestyle, because I want to have more energy than I do now since I am going to have a busy schedule this semester. Do you know of any exercises that I can do at home that could keep me in shape. Also how can I change my eating habits, as of now I just eat whatever I want. I’m 5’0 and weigh 148lbs which is about 30lbs overweight for my height I think.

    1. Reply

      Tips of a Healthier Lifestyle:

      Give your body the energy it needs
      Stay physically active
      Be positive and make your mind fresh all the time by being happy
      Keep your mind and body free of harmful drugs and alcohol.
      Practice safe living habits
      Get regular health care

      Diet Tips for Healthier Lifestyle: Avoid the tobacco, alcohol, drugs always and also caffeine most of the time. You may be consuming junk food mostly up to now. But that not makes a healthier lifestyle. Make yourself feed on the foods that are healthier like fiber foods, protein based, probiotic based, seeds, nuts, grains which nourish you well and provide the good nutritional value to your body. Also drink adequate water to have a well-balanced hydrated body.

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