Divorce May Increase Heart Attacks in Women

Divorce has long been linked with a variety of health effects. Increased stress and anxiety, for example, are common during and immediately following the divorce process, which, in some cases, can evolve into full-blown depression. In other situations, a divorce offers an escape from a bad marriage, allowing a once-trapped spouse to experience a renewed sense of freedom and hope—resulting in overall better personal health. It turns out, however, that divorce could be affecting women differently than it does men, at least in terms of heart health. According to a recent study, women who were divorced had a higher risk of suffering from heart attacks than divorced men, who had to go through a second divorce before their heart attack risk increases.

The study, which was published in the medical journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, was conducted by researchers from the Duke Clinical Research Institute, at Duke University. The team analyzed data gathered from more than 15,000 participants between the years 1992 and 2010. Each participant was between the ages of 45 and 80 and had been married at least once. At the beginning of the study, 14 percent of the men and 19 percent of the women were divorced. Eighteen years later, more than 35 percent of the entire group had been divorced at least once.

Dangers High for Women, Less for Men

During the time frame of the study, 1,211 of the people in the group had suffered heart attacks. Women who had gone through divorce had a 25 percent more chance of suffering a heart attack than women who had stayed married. If a woman was divorced more than once, the risk spiked to 77 percent. Remarriage actually pushed the likelihood of heart attack even higher for divorced women, giving them a heart attack rate that was 35 percent higher than continuously married women.

The statistics for men were much different. Any difference in heart attack risk between a man who was divorced once and a man who stayed married or had remarried was minimal. The risk only increased for men who had gone through two or more divorces, and then jumped to 30 percent.

Possible Reasons

The study results were similar to other studies which have also concluded that divorce has a negative impact on a woman’s health more than it does a man. One of the reasons for this that have been cited in the past is that women who go through divorce often struggle with more economic hardships than men who go through divorce. These struggles often lead to greater emotional distress, which in turn can have a large impact on a woman’s health.

Going through a divorce is a very stressful and emotionally charged time for anyone, even if you are the spouse seeking the divorce.  If you are considering ending your marriage, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney to discuss all your options regarding property division, parenting plans, spousal support, and ant other factors which may affect you. Call Abear Law Offices at 630-904-3033 today.