Men who are married or in common-law relationships seek medical care sooner for heart attacks compared with single, divorced or widowed men, a new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has found.
Marriage Benefits Men’s Health
The benefits of marriage on health, particularly for married men, have long been known.
While fast, effective treatment for heart attacks is available and emergency department delays have been significantly reduced, patient delays in seeking treatment for chest pain have not improved.
Marital Status Impact on Seeking Help
This study sought to assess the affect of marital status on time from first experiencing chest pain to arrival in an emergency department. Researchers looked at data on 4403 patients in Ontario, Canada, who had heart attacks (acute myocardial infarction).
Married Men Went to the Hospital Sooner
The mean age was 67.3 years and 33.7% were female. Almost half of patients (46.3%) went to hospital within 2 hours, with 73.6% arriving within 6 hours. In married people, 75.3% went to hospital within 6 hours of first chest pain, compared with 67.9% single, 68.5% divorced and 70.8% widowed patients presenting during the same period.
"At the patient level, among patients with an exact time of onset of chest pain, the adjusted time saved was a remarkable half-hour. Among all the factors that had an effect in the primary outcome model, only calling an ambulance had a greater influence on the time to presentation," writes Dr. Clare Atzema of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). "Because cardiovascular disease is the most frequent cause of death in Canada and the Western world, the benefit at the population level is substantial."
(Discover: Blueberries Cut High Blood Pressure Risk)
However, married women did not see the same benefit from marriage in seeking faster treatment. The researchers surmise it may be because women are more likely to take the role of caregiver and to urge their spouses to seek care sooner.
"Earlier attainment of medical care may be one reason why married men have a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality than their single counterparts," conclude the authors.
(More on heart health: Love Your Heart with Stress Management)
Spread the Health by forwarding this article to your friends and family, and sharing on Facebook.
"Effect of marriage on duration of chest pain associated with acute myocardial infarction before seeking care" Clare L. Atzema, Peter C. Austin, Thao Huynh, Ansar Hassan, Maria Chiu, Julie T. Wang, Jack V. Tu CMAJ July 18, 2011, doi: 10.1503/cmaj.110170
Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).