So it turns out women who are divorced are at more risk of having heart attacks, even if they remarry, than those who are continuously married.
According to the new study by Duke Medicine, a woman who has been through two or more divorces is nearly twice as likely to have a heart attack when compared to their stably-married female peers.
Study's lead author and associate professor Matthew Dupre, Ph.D., said that the study was one of the first to look at the cumulative effect of divorce over a long period, and they found that it could have a lasting imprint on people's health.
The findings were based on the responses of a nationally representative group of 15,827 people ages 45 to 80 who had been married at least once. Participants were interviewed every two years from 1992 to 2010 about their marital status and health. About one-third of participants had been divorced at least once during the 18-year study.
Although men are generally at higher risk for heart attack, it appears women fared worse than men after divorce, although the differences were not statistically significant. Men who had been divorced had about the same risk as those who stayed married. It was only after two or more divorces that the risk for men went up, the study found.
The study also found that men who remarried also fared better than women. These men experienced the same risk of heart attack as men who had been married continuously to one partner.
The study is published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.