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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 17:30 EDT

Happier Marriages Result In Healthier Heart Surgery Patients

August 22, 2011

A new study said happily married people who undergo major heart surgery are three times more likely to survive than those who are unmarried.

The study said that while men are more likely to live on regardless of their state of marriage, women only enjoy the benefit if they and their husband are happy together.

University of Rochester researchers found that 83 percent of happily married women who had bypass operations lived on for another 15 years, compared with just 28 percent in unhappy unions and 27 percent of unmarried women.

Happy husbands’ survival rate was also 83 percent, but even those who were not content with their marriage stood at 60 percent chance of survival, compared with just 36 percent of those who were unmarried.

Professor Kathleen King said that having a supportive husband and wife encouraged people to live a healthier lifestyle as well.

King, who led the research, said that being in a healthy marriage also motivates patients to take care of themselves after surgery because they have a reason to “stick around.”

Co-author of the study, Professor Harry Reis said in a press release that a happy marriage was “every bit as important to survival after bypass surgery as more traditional risk factors like tobacco use, obesity, and high blood pressure.”

Previous studies revealed that people with less hostility in their marriages had lower levels of a type of inflammation that is linked to heart disease.

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