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Another marriage benefit for men: They seek heart attack treatment sooner

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Married men and heart attack treatment

When it comes to marriage, multiple studies have shown the health benefits for men. One of the reasons is married men take fewer risks when they’re involved in a relationship and become parents. A new study from Canada shows married men seek medical care sooner for a heart attack, compared to men who are single, widowed, divorced or separated.

Married men seek heart attack treatment 30 minutes sooner than single men

Compared to unpartnered men, those who were married arrived in the emergency room for chest pain than their counterparts.

In the analysis, 75.3 percent of married men sought emergency medical help for heart attack within six hours, compared to 67.9% single, 68.5% divorced and 70.8% widowed men within the same time frame.

Dr. Clare Atzema, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and coauthors write:

"At the patient level, among patients with an exact time of onset of chest pain, the adjusted time saved was a remarkable half-hour. Among all the factors that had an effect in the primary outcome model, only calling an ambulance had a greater influence on the time to presentation.”

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Atzema says that translates to real benefits in survival, given the fact that heart disease is a top killer in Canada and the Western world.

For the study, researchers explored data from 4403 patients in Ontario, Canada, who had heart attacks – 73.6 arrived at the hospital within six hours; 46.3 percent arrived within two hours.

Among the heart attack patients, 33.7 percent were women and they didn’t seek prompt treatment. The authors say it may be that women are caregivers and encourage men.

The authors say, "Awareness of the differences in reasons for delay by sex could facilitate the development of targeted public health campaigns as a way to reduce patient-caused delay among those at risk."

The study also showed men in common-law relationships were more likely to obtain heart attack treatment sooner than single, divorced or widowed men. The finding adds to the known health benefits of marriage for men.

CMAJ 2011. DOI:10.1503/cmaj.11017; Effect of marriage on duration of chest pain associated with acute myocardial infarction before seeking care; Clare L. Atzema MD et al; July 18, 2011

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