In sickness and good health

Marriage is a ticket to the best health - especially for men. A loving relationship is not just good for your emotional well-being - it can also make a difference to your physical health too. Here's how:

**Marriage is a ticket to the best health – especially for men

**A loving relationship is not just good for your emotional well-being – it can also make a difference to your physical health too. Here’s how:

**Happier hearts

**Married couples not only have a lower risk of heart disease, if they do happen to get it, they have a better chance of surviving. It appears that stress – which can be a risk factor in heart disease – is generally lower in married couples than in single people. Also, married men are more likely to be physically active and eat well than their bachelor buddies, according to research, and both of these are good for your heart. This research comes from an Australian study which showed that unmarried men have a higher risk of having a heart attack than married men of the same age. And American researchers found that single guys were almost twice as likely to die in the 10 years after being diagnosed with a heart problem as their married mates.

One theory for these findings is that having lower levels of stress may protect against heart disease, while people in relationships, especially happy ones, are more likely to make the effort to have a healthy lifestyle.


**People who are married or in a stable relationship when they’re middle-aged may lower their chances of getting Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia by a huge 50%. A Swedish study, which followed nearly 1500 people for 21 years, found people who’d been single all their lives had double the risk of developing dementia when compared to married people, while divorced people who’d never remarried had triple the risk. Those who lost their other half and never remarried were six times more likely to get Alzheimer’s than those who had found a new partner.

It’s thought stable relationships boost health because partners encourage each other to look after their well-being. The higher risk for widowed and divorced people may have something to do with the stress of losing a loved one, which may make them more susceptible to illness.

**Beating the blues

**If you’re divorced, widowed or have never been married, you’re more likely to be depressed than your paired-off friends, according to a Danish study.And researchers in the US found that divorcees suffering from depression ended up less depressed if they remarried than those who remained single. The researchers concluded that single people are more likely to feel lonely, which can contribute to depression.

Married people also have the lowest rates of suicide, according to an Italian study. It found that divorced or separated men and women under 64 were most at risk. It’s thought that maybe people who have someone else to share their worries (and the power bill) with are less likely to feel overwhelmed by their problems.

**Peppy prostates

**Men who develop prostate cancer appear to live longer if they are married. A huge US study followed nearly 150,000 patients and found the average survival time after diagnosis was five years and nine months for married men, while the average for separated and widowed patients was three years and two months. These figures took into account age differences and the stage the disease had progressed to as well as the type of treatment the patient underwent.

one theory is that married men not only have less stress in their lives, but they tend to have sex more frequently, which has shown to be associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer.

Longer lives

If you’ve said, “I do”, you’re likely to live years longer, according to several studies. However, the results are much better for men than for women. For example, research carried out in the US concluded that married men live an average of 10 years longer than unmarried ones, while married women prolong their lives by about four years.

Married men may be inspired (or nagged!) by their wives to lead healthier lifestyles and take fewer risks, according to one theory, while married women may live longer because they feel financially and emotionally secure and therefore less stressed.

However, one Swiss study bucked this trend – its results indicate that marriage may actually shorten a woman’s life by a year or so. The study found that marriage helps husbands to live around 1.7 years longer than normal while wedded women live about 1.4 years less than average. The Swiss researchers don’t know why this occurs, but some wives might say the results indicate it’s more stressful to live with a man!

**The downside for dieters

**Unfortunately, you’re more likely to gain weight if you’re married. Tying the knot can increase your weight by about 2 to 3kg, according to US research. This may be blamed on picking up your new spouse’s bad habits or letting healthy attitudes to diet and exercise slip once you and your loved one have settled down.

While gaining a small amount of weight isn’t a problem for many of us, if piling on the kilos takes you from a healthy weight to an unhealthy one, then you should try to lose any extra. obesity is linked with a variety of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

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