Marriage has long been thought of as a time when partners give their hearts to one another. And if your marriage is a good one, a new study claims your heart may be getting a lot in return…..better health!
People in marriages that steadily get sweeter have lower cholesterol and healthier weight than marriages that stay the same, according to a new 16-year study. But both were preferable to marriages that got worse: couples in them were more likely to develop high blood pressure later in life.
Men who said their marriage got better over the years had lower LDL—or “bad”—cholesterol and healthier weights (about 1 BMI unit less) at the end of the study, compared to those whose relationship satisfaction was consistently good for those years.
Meanwhile, those whose relationships got worse ended up with blood pressure an average of 2.74 points higher than those with consistently good marriages.
According to U.S. News & World Report, “Marriage researcher Dr. Rahul Potluri, a cardiologist with Aston University in Birmingham, England, said that “the evidence so far suggests that married couples and perhaps happier couples are more inclined to look after each other, which may have a direct impact on cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease.”
Reuters.com quoted Brian Chin, a psychology researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who wasn’t involved in the study, as saying “the results add to growing evidence suggesting that marriage can influence health.”
“It’s interesting that improvements or deteriorations in marital quality are associated with changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors and surprising that consistently good or bad quality marriages were mostly unassociated,” Chin said.
“This seems to be suggesting that it’s something about the transition from having a good marriage that you feel provides you with support, care and warmth to a bad marriage marked by the absence of affection or appreciation that’s particularly relevant for cardiovascular disease risk,” Chin added.
And DailyNation pointed out that researchers warned their study was merely observational and could not show conclusively that an improving marriage results in better health. However, the online story added….”But assuming this was the case, “then marriage counseling for couples with deteriorating relationships may have added benefits in terms of physical health over and above psychological well-being,” the authors wrote.”
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the ties between a healthy marriage and a healthy heart. Do you believe the quality of your relationship is directly tied to the quality of your health? Let us know! Generating meaningful dialogue around the health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!