This is a study about the effect of marriage on the progress of heart disease. Although confined to women, I believe it has general application.
While the explanation that “they have someone at home who can respond to symptoms and help them to seek appropriate treatment” is certainly a valid point, it misses the psychological significance, and certainly the deeper emotional aspects.
An interesting speculation here is that the progress of such ‘ageing and degenerative diseases’ are significantly affected by emotional factors, extending to social and spiritual ones.
MARRIED women are a quarter less likely to die of heart disease than those living on their own, a large study has concluded.
Even though women living with a partner were just as likely to suffer from heart problems, they were less likely to die of them, according to research suggesting the social support provided by marriage could be life-saving.
The protective effect of marriage was seen across all ages, areas and classes as well as among women with different habits and lifestyles, researchers from the University of Oxford have found. They say spouses might encourage their partners to seek help early, as well as providing practical, financial and emotional support during illness.
After adjusting for age, region, education, habits and other factors, researchers found that married women were just as likely to develop heart disease, but women who were married or living with a partner were 28 per cent less likely to die of the condition.
Sarah Floud, lead author of the study, said: “Married women were no less likely to develop heart disease than women who were not married, but they were less likely to die from it. This means that, over 30 years, about three in 100 married women would die from heart disease compared with about four in 100 women who are not married or living with a partner.”
In an article in the journal BMC Medicine, her team said the reasons for this were uncertain, but suggested: “A possible explanation for the lower risk of death among partnered women may be that they have someone at home who can respond to symptoms and help them to seek appropriate treatment.
“It may be that the presence of a spouse influences prognosis after the onset of [heart disease] through encouragement to seek early medical attention for symptoms or to comply with a treatment regime. It has also been proposed that being married may protect against developing disease by encouraging a healthy lifestyle or by providing social support or financial security.”
A recent US study also found that married people were less likely to die of cancer.
Source: The Australian