On Friday at the American College of Cardiology Meeting in Washington D.C., research was presented that showed that married people have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. According to Fox News, researchers from New York University’s Langone Medical Center found that married people have a significantly decreased risk of heart disease compared to people who are widowed, single or divorced.
This study looked at 3.5 million men and women. Dr. Carlos Alviar, who is an NYU Langone cardiology fellow that is part of the research team, said this study is the largest of its kind and provides the most comprehensive look at the connection between relationship status and cardiovascular disease. Until now, research on the connection between relationship status and heart disease has had conflicting results. This study was unique because it did not just distinguish between married and unmarried like previous studies, but examined different types of marital statuses.
The research team analyzed rates of four types of cardiovascular disease in people between the ages of 21 and 99. Overall, married people had a 5 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to unmarried people. The benefits were more pronounced for younger people. Married participants under the age of 50 had a 12 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to young unmarried people.
The American Heart Association describes cardiovascular disease as a variety of problems related to the heart and blood vessels. Many heart disease issues are related to atherosclerosis, a condition that develops when a substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This buildup makes it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow and can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Other types of heart disease include heart failure, arrhythmia, and heart valve problems. In each of these conditions, the heart is not functioning in the way that it should. The American College of Cardiology is working to improve cardiovascular health through education, research, quality care, and health policy. The conference in D.C. is one example of its efforts to improve cardiovascular health through research and education.