21 March 2008

And it's better to be alone than with just anyone

People who are happily married have lower blood pressure than unmarried men and women surrounded by friends, American scientists from Brigham Young University have found.

Researchers led by Julianne Holt-Lunstad conducted a study involving 204 married and 99 single people, about 30% of whom suffered from arterial hypertension. All volunteers underwent daily blood pressure monitoring – automatic pressure measurement during the day, at pre-set time intervals.

It turned out that the upper indicator of blood pressure in happily married men and women was on average 4 mmHg lower than in unmarried people with sufficient support from friends.

Scientists also pointed out that happily married people had a stronger nocturnal decrease in blood pressure than unmarried people. This indicator is important because "people whose blood pressure remains high throughout the night have a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular complications than those whose blood pressure decreases," Holt-Lunstad said. According to her, people who are dissatisfied with their marriage, pressure indicators were even higher than those of single participants.

The beneficial effect of a happy marriage seems to be associated with the emotional support of the spouse "for better or for worse." In addition, married couples are usually attentive to each other's health, reminding of the need for a visit to the doctor or the time of taking medications. A detailed report on the results of the study was published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Source: Happily Married Have Lower Blood Pressure Than Social Singles – Science Daily, 03/20/2008

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