home
RSS
Marriage is good for your heart and other new research
March 31st, 2014
02:13 PM ET

Marriage is good for your heart and other new research

More than 13,000 cardiovascular experts met in Washington over the past few days for the Annual American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions, where more than 2,000 studies are being presented so doctors and researchers can learn about the latest research in diagnosing, treating and preventing heart disease.  Here's a small sample of the studies presented:

Married people have healthier hearts

You might have heard it before; being married may be good for your health.

In a new study, researchers screened 3.5 million adults for cardiovascular problems and found that those who were married had less heart disease and healthier blood vessels throughout the body than people who were single, divorced or widowed.

Dr. Jeffrey Kuvin, spokesperson for the American College of Cardiology, says the findings may be linked in part to the effects of stress and the strength of a marriage. In a healthy marriage, there may be less conflict and less stress.

Extreme stress, on the other hand, such as the loss of a spouse, has been linked to broken heart syndrome, a condition in which people can die from a broken heart, also known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy.

The health effects of marriage may also be linked to the psychosocial aspects of the partnership. A spouse may be more likely to remind you to go see the doctor, to take your medicines, to socialize and to get some exercise.

Researchers say the greatest health benefits were seen in those aged 50 and younger. In that group, being married lowered the risk of vascular disease by 12%. In those over 60, the risk was reduced by 4%.

Women, go easy on the diet drinks

Older women may want to cut back on their diet drinks, be it soda or other beverages, according to a new study.

Researchers found postmenopausal women who drank two or more diet drinks a day were at higher risk for heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.

Compared to women who drank little or no diet beverages each day, this group was 30% more likely to have cardiovascular trouble and 50% more likely to die as a result.

This is one of the largest studies to examine this issue but it only looked at women who were 62 years old on average.

Though other studies have come to similar conclusions, researchers are quick to point out that finding a link between diet drinks and heart trouble doesn't mean the drinks cause these problems. They don't know if the association is due to caffeine, artificial sweeteners or an increased appetite for sugary sweets that can go along with drinking diet beverages.

"It's too soon to tell people to change their behavior based on this study,” says Dr. Ankur Vyas, a fellow at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and lead investigator of the study. “However, based on these and other findings we have a responsibility to do more research to see what is going on and further define the relationship, if one truly exists."

Statins may help your sex life

A new study suggests that cholesterol-lowering medications called statins may improve ED or erectile dysfunction - but don't run to the pharmacy just yet.

Scientists looked at 11 studies in men who had both high cholesterol and ED and found significant improvements in the latter. Past studies have been mixed as to whether or not taking statins improves ED.

“The increase in erectile function scores with statins was approximately one-third to one-half of what has been reported with drugs like Viagra, Cialis or Levitra,” said lead author Dr. John Kostis, director of the Cardiovascular Institute and associate dean for Cardiovascular Research at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

ED is often an early sign of heart disease. It's common in older men, especially in those who are overweight, have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or already suffer from heart problems.

Kostis does not recommend that men with healthy cholesterol levels use statins to help with ED.  But, he says, "for men with erectile dysfunction who need statins to control cholesterol, this may be an extra benefit."  Kostis says larger studies are needed to give us the final word on the role of statins play when it comes to ED.

Bariatric surgery helps control Type 2 diabetes

New research finds that bariatric surgery helps obese Type 2 diabetics control their disease so well that most no longer need insulin therapy.

In fact, nine out of 10 patients who had surgery didn't need insulin at all, compared to about five out of 10 who received medication and counseling only.

Bariatric patients continued to see benefits three years after the surgery and will be monitored for several years to come.

Obese people with Type 2 diabetes are at greater risk for heart and circulation problems. Only about 5% are able to control the disease and lose substantial weight through diet and exercise, according to Kuvin. Bariatric surgery may help those who have exhausted other options, he adds.

Get your kid's cholesterol checked

We don't tend to think of kids as having cholesterol problems, but because of the growing obesity epidemic, it’s becoming an issue.

Researchers found one out of three children screened had borderline or high cholesterol. The study, done in Texas, looked at the medical records of almost 13,000 children between the ages of 9 and 11.

The worry is that high cholesterol numbers in childhood may increase the risk for atherosclerosis - hardening and narrowing of the blood vessels - as an adult.

Three years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics adopted recommendations that children get screened between the ages of 9 and 11, and again between ages 17 to 21.

Early detection can lead to early lifestyle interventions such as regular exercise and better eating habits. The study authors say medications are usually prescribed to only about 1 or 2% of children, usually because of a genetic disorder.

Researchers say it is too early to know how often pediatricians are testing children for cholesterol. Asking about screening at the next pediatric visit may help protect your child's heart.


soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Portlandtony

    Hmmm! With over 50% of marriages ending in divorce, it seems that the study comes to the wrong conclusion. I would guess compatible compasionate roommates or close relationships between men or/and women, sexual or not would lead to a better outcome as far as cardiac (and mental) health is concerned.

    March 31, 2014 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Pippa

    Rubbish data. Only works for one spouse – the one who is reaping the benefits of being cared for by the other spouse.

    March 31, 2014 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jason

    I'm calling serious BS on this article. It helps tax wise.

    April 1, 2014 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Conrad

    I'm a single guy, and right now, my diet is basically Ramen Noodles and Pepsi. If I got married, no woman would let that continue. This and other lifestyle changes ensure that, and especially for men, married live longer than single.

    Statins, or any circulatory improvement can help. Fewer calories helps diabetes, that's getting more and more apparent. This is a reasonable article to me.

    April 2, 2014 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. hssnth99

    I agree 100%
    http://highhealth99.blogspot.com/ follow that site

    April 2, 2014 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • hssnth99

      http://highhealth99.blogspot.com/

      that site about heart health

      April 2, 2014 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
  6. salamaqfxcb

    Are you still single? If you think black and white is a beautiful combination. JOIN
    -–>♥ BlackWhitëHub.COM ♥ site is for you. This is a serious Interracial dating services and mixed race dating site dedicated to those seeking real love. For black men dating white women,white men looking for black women. Millions of singles have joined it. What are you waiting for?cncvn

    April 3, 2014 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. MUAZ MALIK

    in my point of u sex is not a part of life ,just a satisfacation of human beings .and agree with some part of research but mostly not agree with it.

    April 7, 2014 at 04:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. kofybean

    Correlation does not equal causation.

    April 7, 2014 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Bella DePaulo

    Here's what that heart study really did show; in an important way, just the OPPOSITE of the claim. Shame on you, CNN, for doing the equivalent of printing a press release.

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-single/201404/get-married-get-heart-disease-study-35-million-adults

    April 8, 2014 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. The Real Truth

    who would like to be all alone and have no one at all? Not Me.

    November 4, 2014 at 01:34 | Report abuse | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.