Findings from a new study have prompted researchers to suggest that marital status should be considered in the risk assessment for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and that outcomes of CVD based on marital status merits further investigation.
As part of the study, researchers examined data from 34 studies with more than 2 million participants including from Europe, Scandinavia, North America, the Middle East, and Asia to determine how marital status influences CVD and prognosis after CVD.
They found that compared with married participants, being unmarried (never married, divorced or widowed) was associated with increased odds of CVD (OR 1.42) and coronary heart disease (CHD) (OR 1.16), as well as CHD death (OR 1.43) and stroke death (OR 1.55). Being divorced was associated with increased odds of CHD, while those who were widowed were more likely to develop a stroke. Single men and women with myocardial infarction had increased mortality compared with married participants.
Presenting the findings in Heart, the authors said: “Future research should focus around whether marital status is a surrogate marker for other adverse health behaviour or cardiovascular risk profiles that underlies our reported findings, or whether marital status should be considered as a risk factor by itself.”