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Is Your Marriage Breaking Your Heart?

Anyone who is married or has been knows that marital stress can cause everything from heartache to heartbreak.  But can it also cause a heart attack?  A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association ["The Stockholm Female coronary Risk Study"] has shown that for women with heart disease, marital conflict can significantly increase heart attack risk!  The study evaluated 292 women in Sweden from 30 to 65 with established heart disease and found that those in high stress marriages were more than three times as likely to suffer from a repeat heart attack or even to die within 5 years, compared to women who did not report marital stress.

Interestingly, in the same study, job-related stress was NOT shown to be associated with repeat cardiac events in women, as it has been shown previously in men.  And men are not off the hook when it comes to the effect of their relationships on their health:  it has long been known that men are at increased risk of dying within one year of their spouse's death regardless of the nature of the relationship.

For more information on reducing cardiac risk factors, click here.

Created: 6/4/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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