After adjusting for age, sex, race and other cardiovascular risk factors, researchers found marital status was independently associated with cardiovascular disease. These findings were consistent for both men and women across the four conditions.
In particular, married people were 5 percent less likely to have any vascular disease compared with singles. They also had 8 percent, 9 percent and 19 percent lower odds of abdominal aortic aneurysm, cerebrovascular disease and peripheral arterial disease, respectively. The odds of coronary disease were lower in married subjects compared with those who were widowed and divorced, but this was not statistically significant when compared to single subjects, which were used as the reference group for comparison.
On the other hand, being divorced or widowed was associated with a greater likelihood of vascular disease compared with being single or married. After multivariable adjustment, widowers had 3 percent higher odds of any vascular disease and 7 percent higher odds of coronary artery disease. Divorce was linked with a higher likelihood of any vascular disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease.
"The association between marriage and a lower likelihood of vascular disease is stronger among younger subjects, which we didn't anticipate," Alviar said.
For people aged 50 and younger, marriage is associated with 12 percent lower odds of any vascular disease. This number drops to 7 percent for people ages 51 to 60 and only 4 percent for those 61 and older.
"Of course, it's true that not all marriages are created equal, but we would expect the size of this study population to account for variations in good and bad marriages," Alviar said.
The database researchers used consists primarily of
|Contact: Beth Casteel|
American College of Cardiology