Being married may be good for your heart, by helping to keep your blood pressure in check.
That's the key conclusion of new research published in the Journal of Hypertension by Harvard Medical School researchers who tracked 325 adults — half of whom were married — over a two-year period.
The results showed that married people (especially men) were more likely than unmarried individuals to experience a larger drop in blood pressure at night — a daily pattern known as "nocturnal dipping" that is more pronounced in some people than others.
A nightly dip of at least 10 percent in systolic pressure — the upper number in a blood pressure reading — is normal, said lead researcher Finnian R. McCausland, M.D., who noted people who do not experience such drops in blood pressure face greater cardiovascular risks.
The researchers speculated that supportive marriages may help people manage their health and stress levels better than those who are single.
"Being married is independently associated with a greater likelihood of nocturnal dipping and with lower night-time [blood pressure] …" they concluded. "The association was particularly strong in married men. Marital status is a variable that may be considered in future analyses of ambulatory blood pressure."
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