Divorce Can Increase Heart Attack Risk in Women
Substantial research has already shown the negative effects of divorce on physical well-being, but a recent Duke University study reveals that multiple divorces can increase the risk of heart attacks.
The findings indicate women who divorced at least once were 24 percent more likely to have a heart attack compared to women who stayed married. Divorcing twice or more raised the chance of a heart attack to 77 percent, while remarrying caused it to go up to 35 percent.
Men’s heart attack risk went up only if they divorced at least twice, while it remained the same if they remarried.
The study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, tracked the marital status of around 15,000 adults who married at least once over 18 years. Results remained the same even after researchers took into account age, socioeconomic status and physiological factors, among others.
The study did not examine how exactly divorce leads to more heart attacks or why there is a difference between risk levels for men and women. However, theories point to the emotional trauma of a dramatic life event or changes in behavior — such as smoking or altered eating habits — as possible causes that can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to poor heart health.
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