When HeartBreak Is No Longer an Idiom: The Impact Divorce Can Have on Heart Health

When HeartBreak Is No Longer an Idiom: The Impact Divorce Can Have on Heart Health

Though it comes as no surprise to anyone that divorce can have a significant impact on the divorcing spouses’ emotional, financial, and mental health, studies are now confirming the extensive influence that divorce can have on the physical well-being of men and women going through a divorce.

The Duke Study

According to a study published by researchers and doctors through the Duke Clinical Research Institute, a correlation has been found between divorce and the possibility for acute myocardial infarctions (AMI), known more colloquially as heart attacks. The study evaluated the health of almost 16,000 adults, between the ages of 45 to 80 years old, between 1992 and 2010.

Divorce and Acute Myocardial Infarctions: The Effect

Though many risk factors for AMI were taken into consideration, when divorce as a factor was related solely to those who suffered from AMI, it was found that divorce had almost a similar correlation to AMI as other substantial risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes, which are the most predominant risk factors for heart attacks. As for external influences, unemployment is most strongly linked to the possibility of AMI; divorce, also, had a similar association with these other external influences.

The Results of the Study as Related to Women

The most interesting piece of the study was the effect that divorce had on women’s health in particular. The study demonstrated that women who had at least one divorce had significantly higher risk levels than men. Divorced women were 24 percent more likely to experience AMI than continuously married women; women who were later remarried were still at risk for AMI whereas men who remarried were able to return their AMI risk to a normal level. Overall, the study suggested that women’s hearts are more likely to be affected negatively as a result of the stress of a divorce than men. The study also reflected that multiple divorces also increased the AMI risk.

Reasoning Behind the Study

One suggestion for why men were able to bounce back in comparison to their female counterparts when they remarried was due in large part to the spousal demands for healthy behavior. In other words, wives were more likely to encourage healthy behavior and habits in their husbands than husbands were able to encourage healthy behaviors in their wives.

Other Negative, Physical Effects of Divorce

AMI is not the only negative physical impact that affects the newly-divorced. Those who have divorced are also found to suffer from:

  • Anxiety
  • Weight change and unhealthy habits associated with weight change
  • Insomnia
  • Substance abuse and depression
  • Metabolic syndrome associated with high blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol, among other physical anomalies

How We Can Take Advantage of This Information

This study can have an effect on not only the medical community but also how we handle divorce. Knowing the extent of the physical effects, on top of the growing literature on the mental and physical toll that this type of event can take on newly divorced individuals, divorcees can be aware of these possibilities and make better choices to continue a healthy lifestyle. Staying active, maintaining good eating and exercise habits, finding support in the family and friends network, and realistically assessing the goals of your divorce can help you not only stay healthy but also cut down on the negative effects that divorce can have.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys

Heart health is associated with the stressors in your life. A divorce can be made less stressful by having the experienced family law attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC work with you through this process and advocate on your behalf. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for an initial and confidential consultation.