Single people have many reasons to celebrate their status. According to studies, singletons have better exercise habits, better sleep, less debt, and let’s not forget the ability to monopolize one Netflix account.
But science has come along to bump the DJ table, scratching the record and interrupting the dance. Bah! It looks like rolling solo is heartbreaking – both literally and medically. Everyone (single or not) should hold hands and let the following news sink in.
Keele University in the UK published a study in Heart – a journal supported by BMJ and the British Cardiovascular Society – which analyzed the impact of marital status on heart conditions. Researchers pooled data that spanned fifty years and more than five countries, including Asia, North America, and Europe.
A look at stats for over two million people revealed that those who fell under the category of unmarried – meaning widows, divorcees, and never-marrieds – had a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary artery disease (CAD).
The risk for CVD is roughly 42% higher for singles than married people, and CAD is at 16%. It gets drearier. Unattached people were also more likely to die from stroke at 55% and coronary artery disease at 42%.
This information has researchers believing that perhaps the social, financial, and emotional support that marriages offer play a role in overall heart health.
Couple that with other studies examining the effects of loneliness on physical health and longevity and it seems like singles may have a harder time. While being single does not indicate that someone is alone or without a support system, depression, stress, and lack of a social network takes a toll on those who live a solitary life.
Leads in the Keele study caution that certain factors were not explored when conducting the study such as socioeconomic backgrounds of everyone, couples who cohabit, or the quality of marriages.
And it’s not all doom and gloom for singles. Despite the many arrows pointing towards ill health, the jury is still out on whether married people become healthier once they tie the knot. A Swiss study and one by an Ohio sociologist followed individuals’ health before and after marriage.
Marriages of different lengths were studied, and for men, nothing improved health-wise. For women, only the oldest in the group could say they experienced slightly better health. In many cases, the married ones tended to gain weight or increase bad habits like smoking.
Listen to this video to hear more about how one’s marital status can impact health. If you’re wondering how married folks compared to singles in terms of happiness, sorry, you’ll have to dig up another study for that.
In the meantime, everyone should take care of their own health through exercise, diet, healthy social interactions, and plain old fun. That includes dancing to Single Ladies every once in a while!
What do you think of this new study? Do you believe that being married has been better for your health or being single? Are you worried about loneliness?