Divorce Increases Chances of a Second Heart Attack: Study

According to a recent study in Sweden, heart attack victims who get divorced are significantly more likely to experience a second heart attack.

By Avital Borisovsky
August 31, 2016

Divorcees 14% More Likely to Suffer Another Heart Attack

risk of second heart attack increases after divorce

After examining 30,000 men and women of various socioeconomic and marital statuses who have experienced a heart attack, a recent study revealed that divorcees are 14% more likely to have a second heart attack. This doesn't come as a surprise after a study last year revealed that divorce is linked to a higher risk of having a heart attack.

The study was led by Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Heart attack patients were tracked for four years after being discharged from a cardiac care unit.

Researchers discovered that 2,405 (8%) of the participants ended up having a second heart attack, and after adjusting for socioeconomic and smoking status, gender, and age, it turns out that individuals who get divorced have a higher risk of experiencing another heart attack than those who are married. While it could be because of the heartache caused by the dissolution of a marriage – or that divorcees are less likely to look after their health without the help of a partner – experts could not verify the reasons for why divorced people are more likely to have another heart attack.

Your Financial Status Affects Your Chances Even More

Whether you’re married or divorced, it turns out that money plays the biggest role in a person’s likelihood of getting a second heart attack. The group of participants who had the highest incomes had a 36% lower chance of a repeat heart attack than those in the lowest quintile. According to the Telegraph, healthy individuals of lower socioeconomic groups are more likely to develop heart disease. Experts say this could be due to the decreased likelihood of individuals in lower socioeconomic groups taking medication as prescribed.

"Our study shows that in the years following a first myocardial infarction (heart attack), men and women with low socioeconomic status have a higher risk of suffering another heart attack or stroke,” said Dr. Joel Ohm, the lead author of the study and a physician at Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institutet. “This is a new finding and suggests that socioeconomic status should be included in risk assessment for secondary prevention after a heart attack.”

Dr. Ohm suggested that doctors should discuss socioeconomic and marital status with their patients following a heart attack to determine their risk of having more heart attacks in the future.

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August 31, 2016

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