Happily married men and women have lower blood pressure than those that are single

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According to a recent study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, happily married men and women have lower blood pressure than those that are single. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D, of Brigham Young University, and colleagues, found that people engaged in happy marriages have lower 24-hour blood pressure and waking blood pressure than those that are single or unhappily married. The study found that unhappily married individuals have higher blood pressure than the happily married or single. According to Dr. Holt-Lunstand, “there seem to be some unique health benefits from marriage… it’s not just being married that benefits health. What’s really the most protective of health is having a happy marriage.” There is also evidence that those who are married experience less morbidity and mortality than singles. Additionally, married couples were found to have higher levels of life satisfaction. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:

Dr. Holt-Lunstad and colleagues examined the influence of social relationships on blood pressure in 204 patients who had been married an average of eight years and 99 singles, 89% of whom had never been married. About a third of the study population was hypertensive (systolic ≥120 mm Hg or diastolic ≥80 mm Hg).

Each participant completed a battery of tests to assess social and psychological status. Blood pressure was assessed by means of 24-hour ambulatory monitoring, which recorded 72 blood pressure values at random intervals.

The investigators evaluated 24-hour and waking blood pressure and nocturnal dipping in blood pressure values. The 24-hour and waking blood pressure values did not differ between married and unmarried individuals.

Both groups had dips in blood pressure at night, but the decline was greater in the married group (P<0.01 for systolic, P<0.05 for diastolic). After stratification by marital satisfaction scores, nocturnal dipping did not differ between married individuals with low satisfaction scores and single people.

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