Does Divorce Increase Risk of Second Heart Attack?

A new study has concluded that heart attack victims who are divorced are at an increased risk of suffering a second heart attack if they are divorced. The findings are similar to a study conducted last year which concluded that people who are divorced are at a higher risk of having a heart attack than people who are married.

The new study, which was conducted by researchers from Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, examined more than 30,000 women and men who had experienced a heart attack. The group of heart attack patients came from different socioeconomic backgrounds, including marital background, education level, and disposable income. Each of the 30,000 patients were tracked by the research team for four years, following each patient's' discharge from a cardiac care unit.

Of the entire group, almost 10 percent suffered a second heart attack. The study team adjusted factors such as age, gender, whether the patient was smoking or non-smoking, and socioeconomic differences. When those adjustments were made, 14 percent of those 2,405 patients were divorced, leaving the study to deduce that divorce independently leads to a higher risk of suffering a second attack.

In last year's study, conducted by researchers from Duke University, 16,000 participants between the ages of 45 to 80 were followed for 18 years. At the end of the study, more than one-third of the group been through at least one divorce.

For women who had been divorced once, there was a 24 percent risk of a heart attack. For women who had been divorced at least twice, that risk spike to 77 percent, compared to the women who were never divorced.

Divorce men fared better than divorced women—there was no increased risk for those divorced once and only a 35 percent increased risk for those who divorced at least twice. However, if the twice divorced man remarried, the risk factor disappeared. This did not happen for the women.

Neither of these studies could validate the reasons for the increased risk of heart attacks for divorced people. Some have surmised that the heart attacks are caused by a “broken heart,” while others have pointed out that is not uncommon for divorced people to lose sight of taking care of themselves when there is not a partner around to remind them.

Staying in an unhappy marriage can also have an adverse effect on a person's health. If you are considering a divorce, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. Call Roscich & Martel Law Firm, LLC at (630) 793-6337 for a confidential consultation.


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