MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) A new study by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology states despite the stress of marriage, married couples are less likely to suffer from non fatal and deadly heart attacks compared to single people.
For the first time since the early 2000s, health experts stated women have closed the gap in cardiovascular disease related deaths. Traditionally, women died at a higher rate than men, now that rate is about the same. The new study suggest there is a new gap, this time between the married and single, especially single women.
"If you're single and you don't have a support group that leads to increased stress and depression," said cardiologist and USA Professor of Medicine Clara Massey.
The study found the death rate for the unmarried is higher than married couples. Death rates for unmarried men was between 60 and 168 percent, and for women it is between 71 and 175 percent.
"We know that women who are widowed in the first year, after they lose their spouse, they're at a very high risk of suffering a heart attack," said Dr. Massey.
Health officials said there may be a gap, but heart disease is still the number one killer for both men and women. Dr. Massey said everyone is at risk.
"Prevention of the disease is by far the best, rather ending up with a heart catheterization lab or in the open heart surgery suite," said Massey.
Lulu Crawford, 61, said she wishes she could have avoided having open heart surgery.
"I went to a wedding in Colorado. I felt great, thought everything was wonderful. I was just exhausted. Everywhere I walked, I was just exhausted and everyone there said 'Oh you have altitude sickness.You're just fine," said Crawford.
She added, "I went straight to the doctor the next day, and when I came home I had a 99.5 percent blockage of my left artery."
Crawford had open heart surgery that day and a heart catheterization.
Dr. Massey stated high blood pressure, diabetes, being overweight, and family history are things you should be aware of and talk to your doctor about to determine your risk for the disease.