Being married could improve your chances of surviving a heart attack, according to research.

Being married could increase your chance of living a happier life. Yeah! We’ve got good news for you. Being married is really amazing (so you better get married soon); but being married to your significant other isn’t just what’s packed into marriage. They say love is all about what you feel in your heart, pretty metaphoric, huh? Not at all. According to research, being married could improve your likelihood of surviving a heart attack and is associated with reduced length of hospital stay.


Related media: How To Survive A Heart Attack: Symptoms And First Aid For Heart Attack


For Better For Best

In a large 2016 study conducted by a collaboration of researchers from the Aston Medical School and the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, found that married people were 14 per cent less likely to die after a heart attack than single people. Their findings, which was later presented to the British Cardiovascular Society’s (BCS) Conference in Manchester, also found that married people were also, on average, likely to spend two fewer days in hospital than single people.

For the study, the researchers studied over 25,000 patients diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases between January 2000 and March 2013, from more than 188,000 hospital episodes that were attributed to heart attacks each year in the UK — that’s roughly one in every three minutes. The study, which was performed by the Algorithm for Comorbidities, Associations, Length of stay and Mortality (ACALM) Study Unit, also found improvements in diagnosis and treatment around seven out of 10 people now survive a heart attack.

The algorithm has compiled over a million patient database in the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) in North England. Although it is not clear from this study why married people are less likely to die from a heart attack yet the researchers are confident that their findings emphasize the importance of physical and psychological support after marriage. There are several prior studies that’s linked marriage to improved cardiovascular health, however, this is the first study that suggests being married affects how fast patients are discharged from hospital.


Couple Up And Save Your Heart

Image: Loma Linda University | Senior Man Suffering Heart Attack Whilst Jogging with wife

This sounds like good news to the British National Health Service (NHS) — which has an average daily cost per patient to stay on surgery around £400 (US$530). This is estimated to even save the NHS up to £9.8 million (US$13.1 million) for reducing the length of stays for cardiology alone. And even benefits patients who could cut down their cost of simply being in a hospital. These results show the need for doctors to consider the psychosocial effects of a heart attack, considering them as a risk factor, when treating and managing the discharge of a patient.

“Our results should not be a cause for concern for single people who have had a heart attack.” said Dr Nicholas Gollop from University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, in a statement. “But they should certainly be a reminder to the medical community of the importance of considering the support a heart attack survivor will get once they’re discharged.”

This study hopes to expand the ACLAM database in future studies, where they seek to look more into long term effects and also considering the impact of marital status on other cardiovascular diseases, like heart failure — in evaluating the impact of cardiac rehab interventions.

“Our approach has already helped us perform research investigating the relationship between mental and physical health, and health services research particularly looking at the weekend effect.” said Dr Rahul Potluri, founder of the ACALM Study Unit, clinical lecturer at Aston Medical School, in a statement.

“Utilizing and analyzing large data sets is essential to improve our understanding of medical conditions and to improve management options for patients. By looking at how larger numbers of heart attack patients do over a longer period of time in future research, we may be able to see additional psychosocial benefits of marriage, which can be targeted to further guide patient care.”


The Heart Foundation

A 2016 survey of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) supporters found that 30 percent of heart attack survivors has suffered with anxiety or depression.

“A heart attack can have both devastating physical and psychological effects — most of which are hidden from the outside world. These findings suggest the support offered by spouse can have a beneficial effect on heart attack survivors, perhaps helping to minimize the impact of a heart attack.” Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the BHF, said in a statement.

“When you have your heart attack, whether you’re married or not, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Enrolling on a cardiac rehabilitation course, for example, will help you to recover physically, psychologically, and also help you to meet people with similar experiences, who know what you’ve been through. At the BHF we would encourage all heart attack survivors to do cardiac rehab.”


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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Wed, Nov 25, 2020.

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