Married people may have a higher chance to survive heart surgery than those who are separated, divorced, or widowed, a new study finds.
In the study – published yesterday October 28 in the journal JAMA Surgery – the researchers looked at data on health and survival rates in about 1,570 adults who were 50 years of age or older, and who underwent cardiovascular (heart) surgery.
The results showed that in those who were separated, divorced, or widowed the likelihood of developing a disability (inability to walk) or even dying was forty percent higher than in married people, over the next two-year period after surgery .
Marital status may have a great influence on functional recovery and survival after a heart surgery, according to the new findings.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania surveyed the participants 4 times from 2004 to 2010 on their family structure, health, medical care.
Of the participants in the study 65 percent were married, about 20 percent were widowed, 12 percent were separated or divorced and two percent had never been married.
The researchers found that about 34 percent of the participants who were widowed, 29 percent of those who were separated or divorced, and 20 percent of those who had never been married had either developed a disability, or died during two years after the heart surgery, compared with 19 percent of those who were married.
Previous research also found that married people had greater chances of survival after heart surgery.
The higher survival rates in those who are married could be linked to the additional care and support that spouses usually give one another, according to the researchers.
“We know from other studies that social support itself is critical for heart health, and being socially isolated is a risk factor for heart disease,” Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, said.
When it comes to health and wellness, we also have to consider the ‘intangible’. Not only physical things like high blood pressure and high levels of bad cholesterols may have a negative impact on people’s health; so is the social life of a person, which is why people should pay more attention to it as well, Dr. Steinbaum added.
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