Harvard Heart Letter

Divorce linked to higher risk of heart attack

Divorce—especially for women—appears to boost the odds of having a heart attack, a new study finds.

The study, in the April 14, 2015, Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, included nearly 16,000 adults ages 45 to 80 who had been married at least once. By the end of the 18-year study, more than a third had gone through at least one divorce. Heart attacks were 24% more common in once-divorced women and 77% higher in those divorced at least twice.

Those who remarried were still 35% more likely to suffer a heart attack than those who had not split from their spouses. For men, heart attack risk rose by 30%, but only among those who divorced at least twice. And if they remarried, that heightened risk disappeared.

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