Divorced people are more likely to die of a heart attack, says study

Divorcees are more likely to die of a heart attack than people who stay married, a study has found.

Researchers at the Aston Medical School in Birmingham found that divorced people are 16% more likely to die if they have a heart attack than someone who is married.

They also found that people with high blood pressure are 9% more likely to die if they get divorced.

It follows findings published by the same researchers earlier this year that revealed those with high cholesterol were 16% less likely to die early if they were married.

The new data was presented at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Barcelona.

Rahul Potluri, from Aston Medical School and the study’s senior author, said: ‘Single people do worse than married people and divorcees do worst of all.


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‘One of the questions we are asking is why do divorced patients do so much worse? And that’s where psycho-social factors come in: the acute stress of divorce in particular.

‘What happens with divorce is that someone who may have been compliant with their medication while they were married is suddenly under a lot of stress as well as being on their own.

‘They may find it difficult to look after themselves, they lose control of what’s going on. It’s a double hit.’

He said that spouses often make sure their partners are taking their medication, while people often stop taking tablets when going through a break-up.

Getting divorced could be bad for your health, say scientists (Picture: Rex)
Getting divorced could be bad for your health, say scientists (Picture: Rex)

‘During that phase they may find it difficult to look after themselves,’ he said.

‘Going through a divorce is not a one day thing. With heart medication, even if you stop it for a couple of days the impact can be really bad.’

Professor Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘Divorce is commonly believed to be one the biggest causes of stress and we know that stress is bad for heart health.

‘Although this study doesn’t prove a causal link, it shows the benefits of a strong support network on our long-term health and well-being.’