Divorced women more likely to suffer heart disease – but not men
Women who divorce are far more likely than those who do not to suffer heart disease, according to recent research. Divorce appears to have less effect on the cardiovascular health of men, however.
The research which was published by a journal of the American Heart Association entitled “Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes” revealed that women who divorce have a 24 per cent increase in the likelihood they will suffer heart attack. The increase is even more pronounced for women who divorced more than once. Those with multiple divorces have twice the frequency of heart disease of women who remained married according to the survey.
The researchers followed 15,827 men and women between the ages of 45 and 80 for 18 years until 2010. They found that men who divorced had exactly the same tendency towards heart disease as the men who had remained married. The damage to health was only discernible in divorced women. Remarrying did not appear to repair the damage to women’s health either, the research showed.
Psychologist Susan Quilliam from the School of Life in London said “There is such a thing as a broken heart.” She said that divorce had also been linked with breast cancer, anxiety, depression and insomnia – all of which can shorten lives.
Men do not escape detriment to their health altogether, however. Recent research has shown that they are more prone to suicide or risky behaviour after relationship break downs.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics say that roughly 42 per cent of married couples end up divorcing in Britain.
The research was carried out at Duke University in North Carolina. One of the researchers, Matthew Dupre, Associate Professor of medicine at Duke and the study’s lead author said divorce has a lasting impact on people’s health.
The British Heart Foundation say cardiovascular disease is Britain’s biggest killer with about 200 people a day dying from it or 73,000 deaths a year. Aside from divorced women, men are usually more susceptible. About one in six men die from heart disease compared to an average of one in 10 women.