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Divorce could damage your health

Who thought the age old phrase “died from a broken heart” was ever to be taken literally? I’m talking heart disease, heart failure, heart attack literally. According to some recent studies, this appears to be the case.

We’re all familiar with the feeling of loss and sometimes depression that accompany the separation of a serious relationship, especially a marriage. Even those who’ve never been married have experienced this with boyfriend/girlfriend breakups. They’re never easy. It truly is as if a piece of your heart is ripped, beating and bleeding, from your chest, a feeling you’re not soon to forget.

What comes after the separation stage is the healing stage, and many find themselves feeling incredibly better about life in general a few weeks or months later. However, it appears that this mental protection device may only provide benefits on the surface. The damage has already been done and there may be no turning back the clock with regard to the detrimental health effects.


According to Daily News, “divorced or widowed people have 20 percent more chronic health conditions than married people (such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer), and 23 percent had more mobility limitations (such as climbing stairs).”

I can only imagine why. I know for myself, having gone through a couple bad breakups, I lost several pounds and barley slept in the days and sometimes weeks that followed. I paid very little attention to my health, I was stressed out, ignored my doctor’s visits and completely disregarded exercise. Depressed. That’s exactly what I was.

(Let’s not forget that acute stress can cause heart failure.)

According to recent studies, these are all contributing factors in poor health that surround divorce and harsh separations.

Only to make matters worse, the current divorce rate in the U.S. is 1 in 2. That’s half. I’m not trying to insult your intelligence by repeating what you got from the first go ’round in delivering that statistic. I’m merely repeating it because it’s so staggering.

With all this information, it’s not difficult to see the flip side of things. Happy marriages equate to healthier bodies and lives.

Another study, published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, reported by WowOWow, shows that married couples over the age of 50 generally lead healthier, more productive and far less depressed lives than those who remain single.

The study also showed that losing a spouse, such as to death or divorce, could be detrimental to your health. Adults who are divorced or widowed experience more health problems when it comes to chronic conditions compared to those who never married. Even those who choose to remarry, a second, third — fourth, fifth, sixth (celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Jennifer Lopez and Liza Minelli, anyone?) — time doesn’t always eliminate those potentially increased health risks from separation in the first place.

A study performed back in 2005 at the Johns Hopkins University fond that the sudden death of a loved one or other emotional stress can bring on a heart attack, something also known as cardiomyopathy, which, in this case could further be known better as “broken heart” syndrome.

Of course, this information isn’t meant to suggest that if you’re currently in a bad marriage you should try to hang on for as long as you can because you’re worried about the possible negative health effects of a divorce. If you’re, for example, in an abusive relationship, get out as soon as you can. You’ll do far more damage staying in the relationship versus getting out of it.

With that said, the same thing goes for those people unsure of getting into marriage, what to expect from it, what to do, etc. Think of marriage as an investment, one in your own health. The happier, the longer, the better.

So what’s love got to do with it? Maybe not a whole lot, but the marriage part sure does. Love happy. Live happy.

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