Divorcees Have More Heart Attacks

A recent Duke University study has revealed a shocking truth about women’s health; after a divorce, women are 24 percent more likely to have a heart attack than their married counterparts. That number jumps to an unnerving 77 percent  for women who have been divorced more than once. Conversely, the study found that men only see a 10 percent  increase in heart attack risk post-divorce and that risk factor only jumps up to 30 percent  when multiple divorces occur. So why are women hit so much harder by divorce than men?

As Bad as Diabetes

While the study, performed on more than 15,000 people between 1992 and 2010, didn’t identify any specific reasons why divorce hit women so much harder than men, one of its researchers, Professor Linda George, said, “My educated speculation is that we know that psychological distress is a constant stress on the immune system, higher levels of inflammation and stress hormones increase. Immune function is altered for the worse and if that continues for many years, it does take a physiological toll.” Professor George noted that the economic aftermath of a divorce also spikes stress levels. Cumulatively, divorce has an effect on women that is comparable to high blood pressure or diabetes.

Preventive Measures

So what can women do to prevent the debilitating health effects of divorce? Web Psychology actually has a number of resources that can be helpful in this area. Some proven methods of stress reduction include deep breathing exercisesmeditationmassage therapy and biofeedback treatments. Moving into the realm of alternative medicine, some sufferers have found that aromatherapy and the consumption of some herbal remedies like valerian root have greatly reduced stress. Attacking the problem from a different area, engaging in a regular exercise routine has many health benefits, including a reduction in stress. Finally, since divorce has such dire consequences for women, consequences that the Duke study found aren’t mitigated by remarriage, extensive counseling before beginning legal proceedings is advisable.

The Trick is to Keep Breathing

Ultimately, stress is an unavoidable part of life. Loved ones die, careers change and sometimes, divorces do happen. The trick to getting past these road bumps without getting derailed lies in achieving balance. Having a strong support network, maintaining healthy living habits and managing your mental health are all key to absorbing stressful impacts without being knocked down by them. No matter how terrible our circumstances seem in the short-term, it’s important to have a positive outlook and remember that recovery is always possible.