Washington: The benefits of marriage on health, particularly for men, have long been known.
Now, a new study has found that men who are married or in common-law relationships seek medical care sooner for a heart attack, compared to those who are single, divorced, widowed, or separated.
Dr. Clare Atzema, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), and co-authors looked at data on 4403 patients in Ontario, Canada, who had heart attacks (acute myocardial infarction). The mean age was 67.3 years and 33.7 per cent were female.
Almost half of patients (46.3 per cent) went to hospital within 2 hours, with 73.6 per cent arriving within 6 hours.
In married people, 75.3 per cent went to hospital within 6 hours of first chest pain, compared with 67.9 per cent single, 68.5 per cent divorced and 70.8 per cent widowed patients presenting during the same period.
By contrast, a woman`s marital status was not associated with how quickly she sought treatment after experiencing heart-attack-related chest pains.
The researchers assume that it may be because women are more likely to take the role of caregiver and to nag their spouses to seek care sooner than vice-versa.
"Earlier attainment of medical care may be one reason why married men have a lower risk of cardiovascular mortality than their single counterparts," said the researchers.
"Awareness of the differences in reasons for delay by sex could facilitate the development of targeted public health campaigns as a way to reduce patient-caused delay among those at risk," they concluded.
The finding appears in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.