The magnitude of marriage: Better for your heart?

Research we're watching

People with heart disease who are married seem to fare better than those who are unmarried, a new study suggests.

For the study, researchers tracked more than 6,000 people with heart disease for an average of 3.7 years. They found that compared with married people, those who were divorced, separated, widowed, or never married were 52% more likely to experience a heart attack. Unmarried people also had a 45% higher risk of dying of heart disease, even after researchers accounted for confounding factors such as severity of disease, medication use, and socioeconomic status. The study was published in the Dec. 20, 2017, Journal of the American Heart Association.

The observation doesn't prove that being married protects your heart. But having a spouse who provides companionship, reminds you to take your medications, and urges you to follow a healthy lifestyle may explain the association.

Image: © lightkitegirl/Getty Images