Victims of a bad breakup often talk of being “heartbroken.” Thanks to romantic literature and movies, we know that having a broken heart means, but nobody takes it literally. For instance, going through divorce can be emotionally painful, but nobody thinks of divorce literally damaging the human heart.
Turns out that divorce may indeed be a heartbreaker, at least for women. A new study suggests that women who have gotten divorced are at a higher risk of heart attack, The New York Times reports.
This long-term study was more than 20 years in the making. In 1992, researchers began studying 15,827 adults aged 45 to 80, all of whom were currently or formerly married. They followed up with the participants every two years until 2010.
During the study, 8 percent of the participants suffered a heart attack. Controlling for other demographic differences like age, race and smoking, the researchers found that women who had been divorced were 24 percent more likely to have a heart attack, compared with women who were married over the entire study period. Those who divorced twice had their heart attack risk shoot up 77 percent over the never-divorced women.
Getting married again appears to improve the increased risk, but women who got remarried after divorce still had a 35 percent higher risk of heart attack, compared with women who were married throughout the study period.
For some reason, divorced men in the study seemed to be more resistant to heart attack than women. Only those who divorced more than once from 1992-2010 had an increased risk. They were 30 percent more like to suffer a heart attack.
Nobody wants a heart attack, but sometimes staying in a bad marriage would be a serious strain on your physical, psychological and emotional health. The best way to reduce the stress and anguish often associated with divorce is to make sure you hire the right divorce attorney for you.