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Happy marriages mean healthy hearts

Happy marrieds are less likely to have high blood pressure unlike singles or unhappy marrieds.

2 April, 2008

Happily married people are more likely to have lower blood pressure than unhappily married people or singles. Singles, on the other hand, even with a supportive social network didn't fare well when it came to blood pressure.

Researchers from Brigham Young University, located in Provo, Utah, the United States, conducted a study with a view to establishing a correlation between the status of marriage (good, bad and unmarried) and blood pressure.

As part of the study, blood pressure was monitored in 204 married and 99 single adults for a period of 24 hours, and around 72 readings were taken during the study period.

Julianne Holt-Lunstad, lead researcher and a psychologist who specializes in relationships and health, and colleagues found that the blood pressure was 4 points lower in happily married people than that for single adults.

During sleep, married people – particularly those with a happy marriage – had lower blood pressure than that for single adults.

It was people in unhappy marriages who got the highest blood pressure when compared to happily married people and single adults.

The results of the study appear in the March 20, 2008, issue of the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

However, the website quoted a health observer, who is neither affiliated with nor a part of the research team, suggesting that “though happy marriage may have an positive effect on blood pressure, blood pressure status may actually have an impact on the status of marriage, happy or unhappy.”

Most experts agree that good sex is apt to lead to a good marriage. Studies in the field conducted earlier have shown that high blood pressure (hypertension) affects one’s sexual life, which, in turn, could directly affect marriage status.

High blood pressure can hinder the quality of sex since high blood pressure changes the circulatory patterns in the body and damages the inner lining of arteries – both of which can reduce blood flow to the penis and vagina.

In addition, according to the researchers at Brigham Young University, people with high blood pressure who participated in the study might have been on drugs to lower blood pressure – which may have reduced their sexual performance and adversely affected the marriage.

The researchers also concluded that, as an exercise, sex – particularly good sex which should naturally occur more often in a happy marriage – may help reduce blood pressure. Sex can also promote good sleep, which, in turn lowers blood pressure.




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