There are countless reasons why you might want to get married: In the simplest of terms, you're probably looking forward to spending the rest of your life with the person you love, but there are also a number of health benefits associated with settling down—that's especially true for men. A new study from the American College of Cardiology, which was published on February 23, 2023, found that married men are more likely to live a longer life. In fact, the findings suggest that men who never say “I do” are more than twice as likely to die within about five years after a heart failure diagnosis than men who were previously married or women of any marital status.
To conduct this study, researchers at the University of Colorado analyzed data from an existing study by the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, which evaluated 6,800 Americans between the ages of 45 and 84 years old. Once they hit the 10th year of the study, the researchers looked at the 94 participants with heart failure and compared their marital status to their survival rates from when they were diagnosed.They also accounted for other common risk factors, such as mood and age.
Not only did they find that men who spent their entire lives as bachelors were more likely to die within five years of the diagnosis, but they also discovered that widowed, divorced, or separated men didn’t have an increased risk of death. That means that even just being married for a portion of their lives can help boost their longevity. For women, however, marriage didn’t affect their likeliness to die. “There is a relationship between a person’s relationship status and their clinical prognosis [with heart failure], and it’s important to figure out why that is,” says Katarina Leyba, the study’s lead author.
The researchers note that they need to conduct another study to determine the reason why this correlation between a man’s marital status and risk of death exists, but they did come up with a few likely reasons why the connection exists. First and foremost, companionship is the cornerstone of marriage, and that social support may contribute to living a longer life, which findings from an 80-year Harvard study support. Researchers also note that being married gives you access to someone who can monitor your health or influence positive health behaviors.
This study suggests that gender and marital status affect the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease and death in America. This chronic condition affects about 6.2 million adults in the United States, according to the study. Although there is no cure for heart failure, there are preventative measures you can take, such as improving your diet and exercising regularly—and maybe even tying the knot.
American College of Cardiology. "Lifelong Bachelors Face Poorest Prognosis With Heart Failure." February 23, 2023.
The Harvard Gazette. "Good Genes Are Nice, But Joy Is Better." April 11, 2017.