Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

divorce coupleTheir families were surprised. Don and Jackie were getting a divorce after 15 years of marriage.  Don’s sister believes Don will have a difficulty living alone. She fears the stress of the split could cause him serious emotional and health problems.

But new research says that Don’s sister should be worried about Jackie as well.

Divorce is never an easy road, but when it comes to heart health, women are more at risk than men. According to Duke University researchers, divorce may contribute to higher heart attack risk for women. The acute and chronic stress involved in divorce wreaks havoc on the body.

Researchers followed over 15,827 people for two decades and found that those who stayed married had a lower risk of heart attack. Emotional and financial stress of divorce, especially for women, are likely factors. So are taking care of oneself, losing friends and changes of lifestyle that come with divorce. Whatever the reasons (we don’t really know), the link between divorce and heart health was found to exist, especially for women. And going through multiple divorces further increases your risk of heart attack.

Men who remarried after divorce lowered their risk of heart attack to the same level as married men, but this was not true for women. Surprisingly, remarriage didn’t help women with this risk factor.

So if you are on the road to divorce, get help. Find a couples counselor and try to work through your issues. Your physical health might just depend on it.

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