A large study has found that being happily married may actually be good for physical health—at least when it comes to the risk of having a fatal stroke.
The study presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2010 found that single or unhappily married men may have an elevated risk of fatal stroke in the coming decades.
The results were based on findings from 10,059 civil servants and municipal workers with an average age of 49 who participated in the Israeli Ischemic Heart Disease Study in 1963. Using the national death registry and other records, researchers tracked the fate of the men through 1997.
Researchers found that both single men and men who reported dissatisfaction with their marriage had a 64 percent higher risk of dying from a stroke than men who considered their marriages very successful.
The research team admits there are several limitations to their study, including a lack of data on nonfatal versus fatal strokes and information on participants’ medical treatment after the first five years of the initial study. Women also weren’t included.
Among the best ways to prevent strokes are controlling hypertension, avoiding smoking, eating a healthy, low-fat diet and exercising, according to the National Stroke Association.