How Marriage Might Help You Avoid Dementia
A new review in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry suggest that being married might decrease your chance of developing Dementia. This is an amazing link between marriage and dementia that needs further research and exploration.
The review combined the data from 15 studies that included more than 800,000 people from Europe, North and South America and Asia.
In the end, the single people who had never been married, had a 42 percent higher rate of dementia, compared to those who had never been married. Those who were widowed, were 20 percent higher than married people.
Obviously, though, being widowed is not a choice for people. Increased stress levels are a result of grieving the death of a spouse and can affect cognitive abilities, and therefore possibly lead to dementia.
Why Married People are Lower Risk for Dementia
It is speculated among the researchers that those who are elderly and have never married, may have remained single due to certain cognitive traits, like rigid thinking or ineffective communication, which might also put them at higher risk for dementia. This is particularly true of those who are elderly now, who grew up when it was not the social norm to be single, like it has been in more recent years.
“Remaining unmarried has become more common,” they write, “and it may be that single people born in the latter half of the 20th century have fewer unusual cognitive and personality characteristics.”
Possibilities suggested from the research is that married couples quite likely motivate each other toward positive behavior, like eating well, exercising and maintaining relationships. As well, the partners may steer each other into avoiding harmful behaviors like smoking and drinking. All of these factors are, in fact, associated with a lower risk for dementia.
Sexual activity could play a part too, as married people generally have more sex than those who are single or widowed. Researchers from the National University of Singapore and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, demonstrated a relationship between sexual activity and better cognitive function, in an accompanying editorial.
Marriage Is Also Good For Blood Pressure
And while being married looks like it may lessen the risk for dementia, other research shows that being in a truly happy marriage, can also be good for the blood pressure of the marriage partners, even with age and stress accounted for.
Besides known factors like poor diet and lack of exercise, perhaps this review reveals that marital status should also be a consideration in the risk assessment for dementia.
Let us know please if you know families where the spouses are advanced in age, happily married and with no dementia. If you have had experiences with this topic, please share your opinions in the comments section below for discussion. If you liked this article and think it may help your friends, consider sharing or tweeting it to your followers.