A new study published online last month in the journal Heart suggests that protection from heart disease and stroke may be health benefits from marriage. British researchers analyzed data from 34 studies that were published between 1963 and 2015, including more than 2 million people between the ages of 42 and 77, in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and Scandinavia.
The investigators found that, in comparison to married people, those who were never married—or divorced or widowed—had a 42 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease, a 16 percent higher risk of coronary artery disease, a 42 percent higher risk of death from coronary heart disease, and a 55 percent higher risk of death from stroke. The researchers also found that divorce was associated with a 35 percent higher risk of heart disease, and that widowers were 16 percent more likely to have a stroke.
There was no difference in the risk of death following a stroke between married and unmarried people. But those who had never married were 42 percent more likely to die after a heart attack than those who were married, the findings showed.
The researchers stated that their findings suggest that marital status might be an independent risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and for the likelihood of dying from those conditions. However, the study did not prove that marriage caused heart risks to drop.