Divorced people may be at increased risk for heart attacks and should pay special attention to their coronary risk factors,suggests a study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. It looked at nearly 16,000 Americans, ages 45 to 80, who had ever been married.
Over the course of nearly two decades, women who had been divorced once were 24 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who stayed married, and those who divorced more than once had a 77 percent higher risk. Remarried women still faced somewhat higher risk.
Among men, only those who were divorced more than once were at elevated risk (30 percent higher), and remarriage seemed to reverse the risk. The researchers controlled for (and thus ruled out) many factors that could explain the increased risk, including loss of income, depression, alcohol use, and smoking, and concluded that other effects of the stress of divorce were most likely to blame.