Happy Marriage Helps Recovery After Heart Attack

Nov. 2, 2022 — Less stress is generally associated with better heart health. Now, a large study shows that a low-stress, happy marriage is associated with better recovery in people who have a heart attack at a relatively young age—under age 55.

The researchers found that people who had the most stressful marriages had more chest pain or were readmitted to the hospital after a heart attack.

Their study found that people with stressful marriages had a significantly higher risk of heart attack than other heart attack survivors of the same age, sex, education, and income level, as well as employment and insurance status. I had more recovery.

“I would tell young heart patients that stress in their marriage or partner relationship can adversely affect their recovery after a heart attack,” says Senjing Zhou, Ph.D. candidate. at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, CT. “Managing personal stress can be as important as managing other medical risk factors” such as blood pressure, for example, “during the recovery process.”

The general advice is for everyone if you have common risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, or smoking, and heart disease for younger people. Be aware of a family history of, especially prematurity. Heart disease, Zhu says.

“Patients should be aware of the association between marital stress and delayed recovery from heart attacks,” says an AHA spokesperson. Nika Goldberg, MD, who was not involved in this research..

“If they have marital stress, they should share the information with their doctor and discuss physician referrals and cardiac rehabilitation,” says Goldberg. Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Medical Director of Ateria New York City.

“My final thought is that women are often told that. [by doctors] Her heart symptoms are due to stress,” she says. “Now we know that stress affects physical health and it’s no longer an excuse but an important factor in our physical health. “

A stressful marriage

Oh Many studies have reported that psychological stress is associated with poorer heart health outcomes, Zhu says.

However, little was known about the effects of a stressful marriage on young heart attack survivors.

Researchers analyzed data from participants in a study called Variation in Recovery: The Role of Gender on Outcomes in Young AMI Patients (VIRGO).

It included 1,593 adults — 1,020 women — who were treated at 103 hospitals in 30 US states. Most of these heart attack survivors were married and 8% were married/living with a partner.

Most (90%) were between 40 and 55 years of age, and the rest were younger. Their average age was 47 years. Three-quarters were white, 13% were black, and 7% were Latino.

One month after the heart attack, they answered 17 questions about the quality of their emotional and sexual relationships with their spouses/partners in the Stockholm Marital Stress Scale. Then 1 year after the heart attack, the patients answered several questionnaires about their health.

One year later, those who reported severe marital stress had significantly worse scores for physical health, mental health, general quality of life, and quality of life related to their heart health, compared to those who did not. Who had no marital pressure.

Heart attack survivors with the highest marital stress were 49% more likely to report more frequent chest pain/angina and 45% more likely to be readmitted to the hospital for any reason. , compared to patients with no or mild marital stress.

the study Limitations include that the results are based on a self-reported questionnaire.

“Additional stressors besides marital stress, such as financial stress or work stress, may also play a role in young adults’ recovery, and the interaction between these factors needs more research,” says Zhu. say

The researchers will present their findings later this week at the American Heart Association (AHA) 2022 Scientific Sessions in Chicago.

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