New research from The University of Pennsylvania has confirmed everything your mother has told you already: being married will save your entire life. Well, at least if you’re going through heart surgery. According to the findings, married people have a much greater chance of surviving than those who are single.

The idea that those in relationships may have more protective factors than those who aren’t may not be news (plenty of studies have suggested this in the past), but this latest research, published October 28 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that unmarrieds over 50 had a 40 percent greater chance of death or disability two years after cardiac surgery. That number is so large (1,576 people were surveyed after serious heart procedures) that researchers are now focusing on why exactly marriage makes such a difference, especially so that doctors can use this knowledge to help people recover outside of the surgery itself.

From ABC:

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Dr. Ashish Shah, head of heart transplantation at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said the findings echo earlier studies that found married patients tend to do better in surgery than those who are unmarried. Shah said, however, the key will be understanding why these patients do better and seeing if there is a way to help other patients get the support and help they need even if they don’t have a current partner. Shah was not involved or affiliated with the study.

“There’s always been the feeling that people who have [a person] that is supporting them tend to do better,” Shah told ABC News. “Most heart surgeons would agree that emotional stressors will complicate operations.”

Shah pointed out that it’s not just marriage that helps a person beat cardiac surgery. He believes that any long and stable relationship can assist a patient in getting stronger after the procedure. He also doesn’t suggest that people in unhappy relationships stay together as insurance against heart issues. Having a support system is what’s important here, so ditch your ex if you need to, just make sure you build some strong connections in that relationship’s place. (As a married, however, I disagree. I only got into this thing for my health and I’ll die believing it’s the only thing keeping me out of the hospital.)


Contact the author at mark.shrayber@jezebel.com.

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