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Marriage Can Raise Your Blood Pressure, Scientists Say

Marriage may raise blood pressure in couples.
Marriage may raise blood pressure in couples. Credit: Morning Calm Weekly Newspaper Installation Management Command, U.S. Army / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

New studies reveal a truth to the age-old saying that marriage can increase your blood pressure. Studies have now indicated it’s not just a joke but that couples are indeed more susceptible to this potentially dangerous condition.

Shockingly, nearly half of the folks in England were discovered to have hypertension, a condition that, if ignored, can significantly increase the chances of experiencing a heart attack or stroke.

Higher risk of high blood pressure in married individuals

According to researchers in the United States, the risk of hypertension is nine percent higher for those who are married. Their recommendation is that doctors should offer couples combined screening and treatment programs to address the issue together.

The researchers aimed to investigate whether married couples, who often share similar interests, living environments, lifestyle habits, and health outcomes, might also share high blood pressure.

They conducted an analysis of blood pressure data from 1,086 couples in England, along with 3,989 couples in the United States, 6,514 in China, and 22,389 in India.

Criteria for hypertension and research findings

Individuals were classified as having hypertension if their systolic blood pressure exceeded 140 mm Hg, diastolic surpassed 90 mm Hg, or if they had a confirmed history of high blood pressure.

The findings revealed that forty-seven percent of couples in England, with husbands averaging 74.2 years and wives averaging 72.5 years, had high blood pressure. This percentage was higher than in the United States (38 percent), China (21 percent), and India (20 percent).

Comparing wives married to husbands without high blood pressure, those with husbands having high blood pressure were nine percent more likely to also have the condition.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, showed similar connections for husbands with wives having high blood pressure.

Couple-oriented strategies for hypertension management

Experts emphasized that these results underscore the potential advantages of employing couple-oriented strategies for diagnosing and managing high blood pressure. This could include joint screening for couples, providing skill training together, or participating in programs jointly rather than treating individuals separately.

Bethany Barone Gibbs, an associate professor at the School of Public Health at West Virginia University, noted, “Following this idea, making lifestyle changes, such as being more active, reducing stress or eating a healthier diet, can all reduce blood pressure.”

“However, these changes may be difficult to achieve and, more importantly, sustain if your spouse or partner are not making changes with you,” she warned.

She further said, “These findings also hint at a broader approach—interventions using a socioecological model considering determinants of hypertension across individual, interpersonal, environmental and policy levels are likely going to be necessary to reduce the global public health burden of hypertension.”

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