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Mar 15, 2014 07:49 AM EDT

Get Married to Avoid Dying from Heart Disease, Study

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Married women are 28 percent less likely to die from heart disease, according to University of Oxford study.

For the study, researchers closely monitored 730,000 women, who were 60 years old on an average. They observed the ladies over a period of nine years. Factors such as age, socio-economic status and lifestyle were also taken into account. During the study period, 30,000 of these women developed heart disease and 2,000 died from the condition.

The researchers found that married women (including those who were living with their partner) had the same risk of suffering from heart disease as unmarried women (including single, widowed and divorced women). But the chances of dying from heart disease were 28 percent lower in married women because their partners would constantly encourage them to get early medical treatment for symptoms.

 "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," Dr Sarah Floud at Oxford University's Cancer Epidemiology Unit, said in a statement.

Previous studies showed that partners are more likely to support their spouses in seeking medication and making changes to their unhealthy lifestyles.

The finding is published in the journal BMC Medicine.

Another latest University of Chicago study found that husbands' pleasant personality and good health helps prevent marital conflict among older couples. However, these characteristics in wives didn't have much effect on marital conflict.

According to a 2000 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women who experienced moderate to severe marital strain were 2.9 times more likely to undergo heart surgery, suffer heart attacks or die of heart disease than unmarried counterparts. It's not that unmarried women escaped from any medical conditions. They also carried a higher risk of heart problems, Live Science reports.

Also, the American Journal of Cardiology in 2006 showed that marital quality and social support help fend off chronic diseases like congestive heart failure. The researchers found that patients with severe heart disease and poor marriages were at a heightened risk of dying over a four-year period. The four-year survival rate in these couples was just 42 percent when compared to 78 percent among patients with milder heart disease and good marriages.

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