Health Life

Is your marriage posing health problems for you?

By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV Online 2014

Whether you’d like to admit it or not, relationships do affect our health, in particular ‘bad relationships’ and those who’ve found themselves literally stuck in miserable relationships could well, and truly be at risk of problems with their health as opposed to those in good, healthy and thriving relationships.

The Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, last week, published a US study focusing on the links between marital quality and cardiovascular risk. Cardiovascular risk measured as “hypertension, rapid heart rate, C-reactive protein, and general cardiovascular events”.

So, the biggest question that will, most probably dawn on peoples’ minds when reading this article; and who can relate to it: should you file for separation if your relationship makes you severely unhappy?

This writer is no marriage counsellor or expert on the subject, for that matter, but reasearch has indicated that most of us fail to understand, or know every little about the importance that each of us has, to the overall health of our better halves.

How couples treat each other, affects the health of both and being aware of this proves to be more beneficial not only for health reasons, but for the relationship and the greater good of the household, especially where children are involved.

The study carried out on 1, 198 people (all married) compared risk factors for strokes, heart attacks and a history of heart disease, with the quality of people’s relationships – the underlying factor suggesting that relationships, of any sort, have to be happy to make you healthy.

Couples who argued a lot (more than the usual), criticised one another, spent more time degrading each other rather than building up their relationships, communicated less with each other, among other marital issues, were more at risk of heart disease; the effect far greater than the “protective effect” of good marriages.

Persons constantly feeling stressed out over their relationships were also at greater risk of heart disease; especially females and older citizens.

Relationships were measured by standard quality scales: emotional satisfaction, closeness, time spent with their partner and how much time they spent together and how often they communicated with their partner about their worries or concerns.

Not only does ‘stress’ increase the blood pressure but it also causes sufficient chaos to hormones which in turn could lead to reduced immunity, increased depression and considerable weight gain.

Christine Proulx, author of a study on long-term relationships, published in 2013 in the Journal of Family Psychology, states that “to stay healthy as you get older, you should work as hard on your marriage as you do in the gym”.

She found that people who have happy marriages are more likely to rate their health as better as they get older than those who are single, widowed or divorced.

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