Happily married individuals who have heart surgery are three times more likely to survive than couples who are unmarried, a recent study claims.
A happy marriage can be as good for heart health as stopping smoking, losing weight or keeping blood pressure in check, according to experts.
U.S. researchers monitored the health of 225 men and women who had heart-bypass surgery, a major operation in which surgeons take a vein from the patient’s leg or chest to divert blood around a furred or blocked artery.
They found that 83 per cent of happily married women who had heart bypass operations lived on for another 15 years, compared with just 28 per cent in unhappy unions and 27 per cent of unmarried women.
Researcher Kathleen King, of the University of Rochester, New York State, said: “It is likely that caring spouses help by encouraging healthy behaviour.
“Loving and being loved may also give people a powerful reason to stick around.”
She said that having a supportive husband or wife encouraged people to have a healthier lifestyle, for example by taking more exercise or giving up smoking.
Professor Harry Reis, who co-authored the study in the Health Psychology journal, said 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.”