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Happy Marriage Cuts Men's Risk for Stroke
Date:2/24/2010

Single men, unhappy husbands had higher incidence of dying in study

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Single or unhappily married men seem to run a greater risk of dying from a stroke than those with good marriages, a new Israeli study indicates.

The study, which tracked more than 10,000 civil servants and municipal workers from 1963 to 1997, found that 8.4 percent of the single men died of strokes, compared to 7.1 percent of the married men. When age and known stroke risk factors such as obesity, smoking and diabetes were included in the analysis, single men had a 64 percent higher risk of fatal stroke than married men, according to a report scheduled to be presented Wednesday at the American Stroke Association's annual stroke conference in San Antonio.

The study also asked men to evaluate the success of their marriages. The 3.6 percent of men who reported dissatisfaction with marriage also had a 64 percent higher risk of a fatal stroke, compared to those who considered their marriages to be very successful.

"Maybe summoning help in the case of suspected stroke took longer among those who were unmarried," said study author Uri Goldbourt, a professor of epidemiology and preventive medicine at Tel Aviv University. "If that were true, perhaps the probability to survive a stroke would be lower among those living alone."

Goldbourt said he had no explanation for the effect of happiness on stroke mortality. "I had not expected that unsuccessful marriage would be of this statistical importance," he said.

But it's clear that a long, happy relationship is associated with a higher likelihood of taking the recommended measures against the known stroke risk factors, said Daniel Lackland, director of graduate training at the Medical University of South Carolina, and a spokesman for the American Stroke Association.

"When you look at diabetes, one of the major stresses, and at therapeutic respon
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