People who are married are less likely to develop heart disease or die from a heart attack or stroke than those who aren't married, a new study finds.

Researchers believe the findings may be attributed to a number of factors such as additional social and emotional support from a spouse.

Marriage And Heart Disease

In the new study published in the journal Heart on June 18, researchers from Keele University in the United Kingdom have found a link between marriage and the reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

The researchers of the study examined data collected from 34 previous studies involving over 2 million individuals of different ages who were from North America, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, and the Middle East. They pulled out these studies from a total of 225 studies that were published between 1963 and 2015.

Findings Of The Study

The researchers found that people who weren't married were 42 percent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 16 percent more likely to develop coronary artery disease. These people include those who never married, divorced, and widowed.

They also found that those who weren't married were 42 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 55 percent more likely to die from stroke.

What's more, the researchers found a link between divorce and a 35 percent increased risk of developing heart disease for men and women. Those who were widowed, on the other hand, were 16 percent more likely to get a stroke.

Why Marriage May Be Protective?

Researchers believe that the link may be attributed to a number of factors including better adherence to medication, better financial security, balanced diet and lifestyle, more physical activities, encouragement, and additional social and emotional support.

"There are several possible mechanisms that may explain why people who are married had reduced risk of heart disease," said Phyo Myint, a professor at the University of Aberdeen and a contributor to the study.

"They may adopt balanced diet and lifestyle for example, through encouraging their partner to lose weight, do more physical activities or simply encouragement to go and see a doctor for seemingly minor ailments such as heartburn which can be due to heart disease."

Heart disease In The US

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of deaths for both men and women in the United States.

About 610,000 Americans die of heart disease in the country every year. In 2009, the majority of the deaths were in men. Also, the most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease, killing about 370,000 people each year.

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