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 Post subject: Divorce raises heart risk to women by 50 per cent
 Post Posted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 4:10 pm 
Divorce raises heart risk to women by 50 per cent

AS any divorcee knows, the experience of breaking up can be highly stressful.

But for women, the ordeal takes a physical toll as well as an emotional one, experts claim.

Their research shows that women who divorce are 50 per cent more likely to develop heart disease in later life than those who stay married.

Even those who find happiness with a new partner are still more likely to suffer ill health.

Men, on the other hand, appear to be physically unaffected by divorce. The figures show it has little effect on their chances of developing heart problems.

Researchers believe the emotional stress of a marriage break-up, along with the subsequent upheaval of moving house or losing income, can cause physical and mental problems in women, which raises the risk of cardiovascular disease.

They are also more reliant on the contentment of a family environment, whereas job and career prospects are more important to men, according to experts from the University of Texas, where the research was carried out.

A spokesman said: ‘Our results reveal that women with a marital loss have a higher risk of disease in late-midlife compared to continuously married women, whereas marital loss is not associated with men’s risk.

‘Women tend to value themselves more in terms of family relationships …whereas men value themselves primarily in terms of their occupation.’

Researchers interviewed about 10,000 middle-aged men and women every two years for a decade.

Over the ten-year period, more than a tenth of those questioned developed cardiovascular disease.

The findings, published in the Journal of Marriage and the Family, showed that 11.6 per cent of divorced women and 10.7 per cent of remarried women had heart disease, compared to 8.7 per cent of those who were continuously married.

At the age of 51, 10.9 per cent of divorcees and 9.8 per cent of remarried women had heart disease, compared to 7.3 per cent of women who remained with their partner.

By the age of 60, 33 per cent of divorced women and 31 per cent of remarried women had cardiovascular problems, compared to just 22 per cent of those who were married and had not suffered a break-up.

Divorce rates have quadrupled since 1970 with around one in four marriages now breaking down.

About half of marriages of twentysomethings end in divorce with the highest rate being among 25 to 39-year-olds, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Heather Mills, who is going through a stressful separation from Sir Paul McCartney, s a i d l a s t week that she had felt ‘abandoned’ following the breakdown of her relationship.

She said: ‘It’s like a physical pain. It just goes on and on.’


@Daily Mail


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