Marriage is hard work sometimes, and there are bound to be occasions when your spouse sends your blood pressure sky high.
Well, the next time that happens, just take a deep breath, throw your
arms around your main squeeze, and remember one thing -- it turns out
your sweetie is the perfect tonic for your ticker.
That's right -- our friends from Finland found that if you're married,
you are far less likely to die from a heart attack. Just remember that
the next time your spouse leaves the toilet seat up or insists on
watching that silly romantic movie on the Lifetime channel.
Researchers analyzed more than 15,000 medical records of Finnish
patients aged 35 and older who suffered from an acute coronary syndrome
(ACS) event, such as a heart attack, between 1993 and 2002. They found
that unmarried men and women were up to two-thirds more likely to suffer
a heart attack or other ACS event -- and the news only got worse from
It turns out unmarried patients were much more likely to die within 28
days after a heart attack. Mortality rates were between 60 percent and
168 percent higher in unmarried men, and 71 percent to 175 percent
higher in unmarried women.
Now if you're single, you might be thinking that it's time for drastic
measures. Maybe you should try one of those online dating sites or just
pop the question to the next stranger who darkens your doorstep.
Well, not so fast. You see, I don't think the key to this research was
marriage per se, but companionship. The key to surviving a heart attack
is appropriate after care, and living with someone who can help advocate
for you and nurse you back to health is critical.
Second, companionship just may keep you from having that heart attack in
the first place. You see, as we get older, it becomes very easy to
isolate ourselves. It's a bit more difficult to get around, and we start
to wonder if it's worth the trouble. We become couch potatoes and start
eating three meals a day out of the microwave.
Companionship gets us up and moving, and it stimulates our minds -- and
it doesn't even have to be human variety. A study by Baker Medical
Research Institute found that simply owning a pet could lower your blood
pressure and cholesterol levels.
Humans are meant to be social creatures. If you're spending a little too
much time alone, use this week to make a date with an old friend or
find a club or activity you can join.
And if you're married like me, spend this Valentine's Day appreciating
your spouse in a whole new way. He or she just might be saving your
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