According to a recent study led by the University of Pennsylvania, married people have higher odds of surviving heart surgery and recovering faster. The study confirms past research that showed marriage can bring real health benefits.
The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, revealed that married couples recover quicker after heart surgery than divorced people, singles, and live-ins.
The research involved more than 1,500 adults older than 50 who underwent heart surgery. Patients were questioned about their marital status, i.e. whether they were married, widowed, single, or divorced.
The data showed that not married people had a 40 percent higher chance of dying or be affected by a disability after the medical procedure than married people. Dr. Ashish Shah, chief of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s heart transplantation department who was not involved in the study, said that the study confirms other findings that had shown improvement for married couples when recovering from surgery.
Researchers currently plan to learn what makes these people more resilient after surgery and apply the findings to patients that are not married. Shah told reporters that people who have a person to rely on ‘tend to do better.’ Heart surgeons also know that stress can lead to serious post-operative complications.
Shah explained that surgeons usually try to do their best when performing cardiac surgery but they overlook some important aspects that may influence their patients’ recovery. For instance, they should check what happens to their patients outside hospital, as well.
And experienced surgeons do ask their patients who they live with, and how are they faring after surgery. Yet, Shah thinks that benefits marriage brings may be replicated in non-married patients.
“It may be as simple as being supported…if you have a good friend or parent,”
But past studies had shown that marriage brings other health benefits to both partners. For instance, recent research revealed that married people have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke than singles or live-ins.
Doctors explained that a married couple is less prone to take risks and abuse substances than singles and even people living in with a partner. Plus, singles are more exposed to depression, thus, they may neglect their own health.
But in order to bring these benefits, marriage needs to be a happy marriage. Bad marriages generate stress and changes in stress hormones. Previous studies showed that these changes up the risk of disease and do not allow wounds to heal fast.
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