It was already known that being married, particularly for men, lowers risk of death. But one study pinpointed a specific benefit that may contribute to this overall lower risk of death: men who are married get to the hospital faster after heart attack symptom onset than single men.
The article published in September 2011 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal analyzed data from a study called Enhanced Feedback for Effective Cardiac Treatment (EFFECT) and looked only at heart attack patients who arrived to the hospital with symptoms of chest pain.
Men who were married or in a common-law relationship, and for whom an exact time of symptom onset was known, tended to arrive at the hospital a half-hour earlier than their single counterparts. The only variable that knocked even more time off how long it took men to get to the hospital was calling an ambulance. Being married did not, however, contribute to women getting to the hospital faster.
Why do men go to the hospital sooner if they have a wife? The thinking is that women are often caregivers, and they will press loved ones to seek treatment.
While this is only one study, and more research is needed, there are some common-sense messages that can be gleaned from the findings. If a loved one tells you to go to the hospital, that person’s advice could save your life
- If you are a man whose wife is experiencing heart attack symptoms, even if they are subtle, encourage her to go to the hospital.
- If you are a woman who is experiencing heart attack symptoms, drop everything and dial 911.
- If you are single, don’t dismiss heart attack symptoms as harmless; dial 911 right away.
Reference: Atzema C, et al "Effect of marriage on duration of chest pain associated with acute myocardial infarction before seeking care" CMAJ 2011; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.110170.
Also Within the SecondsCount.org Website
Visit this link for more information on "Symptoms of a Heart Attack."
Visit this link for information on "What is a Heart Attack?" (There are a number of other helpful articles at the bottom of the page in this section.)