Your Marriage Affects Your Chances of Having a Stroke

Marriage is one of the most meaningful decisions in an adult person's life because it substantially interlaces with almost every aspect of life. Marriage can be a source of love, happiness, and security. Marriage can also induce stress, anxiety or heartache and many marriages are so tumultuous that they ultimately break apart. The well being and stability of a marriage can have a notable impact on a person’s health and has been shown to play a consequential role on the risk of stroke, which is a life altering health event.

Marriage Does Impact Stroke Risk


Interestingly, marital stability affects not only the couple's stroke risk, but also the stroke risk of their adult children years down the road. And, on the flip side, a severe stroke can cause such a transformation in a stoke survivor's personality, that it can affect the quality and contentment of marriage for the spouse.

Stroke Risk After Divorce


 A study published in Sweden reported that stroke incidence rises within the first few years after a marriage terminates. A stroke has a higher likelihood of occurring whether a marriage ends due to divorce or due to the death of a spouse. The increase in stroke rates affected both men and women, but it was noted to be more significant for men than for women. There are a number of possible explanations for the upsurge in stroke when a marriage ends, including anxiety, sadness and a decline in self-care. Additionally, changes in lifestyle after marriage may differ for men and women, and this could explain the different rates of stroke between men and women subsequent to the termination of a marriage. Interestingly, men who had never been married did not demonstrate an increased rate of stroke compared to married men of the same age, which suggests that it is the ending of a marriage, rather than the lack of marriage, that contributes to stroke risk.

Stroke Risk in an Unhappy Marriage


While divorce affects stroke incidence differently for men than it does women, an unhappy marriage also affects the genders in different ways. An investigation from The University of Colorado at Boulder reported that an unhappy marriage, identified as poor marital adjustment, resulted in a higher rate of development of stroke risk factors for women, but not for men.

Stroke Risk in Children of Divorce


 Surprisingly, divorce has been found to have a long-term impact on stroke risk for more than just the divorced couple. A study published in the International Journal of Stroke concluded that parental divorce during childhood increases the risk of stroke for men in adulthood by threefold. Interestingly, there was no association of parental divorce during childhood on stroke risk for adult women. Given that divorcing parents do not typically take the decision to separate lightly, descriptions of children’s long-term outcomes may lead to increased feelings of guilt and blame. However, it is important to note that the study does not point to an exact cause or physiology behind the increase in stroke among the adult males who experienced childhood parental divorce.

Love, Hate and Stroke

Marriage plays a huge role in one's life. It is not a big surprise then, that the quality of a marriage can impact stroke, which is a disease caused by the interaction of a number of complex social, emotional and health factors. It is especially fascinating that marital well being and divorce affect men and women so differently - and even affects their sons differently than it affects their daughters.

Continue Reading