ACC.14: Marriage associated with lower cardiovascular risk

Although betrothed couples may argue otherwise, research to be presented at American College of Cardiology (ACC) scientific session in Washington, D.C., found that marriage may lower cardiovascular risk.

Researchers led by Carlos L. Alviar, MD, of New York University Langone Medical Center in New York, investigated the association between marital status and risk of peripheral artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, abdominal aorta aneurysm and coronary artery disease among a population of more than 3.5 million participants between the ages of 21 and 102 who were evaluated for the four conditions.  

The data came from people who participated in the Life Line screening program between 2003 and 2008. The program offers preventive screenings at sites across the U.S. Participants paid $100 for each screening, and the researchers acknowledged they may not be representative of the population as a whole.

The investigators found an independent association between marital status and cardiovascular disease after adjusting for age, sex, race and disease risk factors. Compared to being single, married participants had lower odds of any vascular disease (odds ratio [OR] 0.95). ORs for widowed and divorced participants were higher (1.03 and 1.05). The association remained the same regardless of gender or condition.

The researchers also found that the decreased risk of cardiovascular disease was even lower among younger participants.

Alviar said in a press conference announcing the results of the study that the reasons behind the association are still unknown, but hypothesized that one potential explanation could be that married couples may motivate each other to engage in healthier lifestyles.

The research was among results the ACC made available before the studies’ scheduled presentation. ACC.14 will continue through March 31.