Sunday, March 05, 2006

Marital spats and heart disease

Marital spats do not just produce harsh words and hot air - they can harden your arteries too, a study suggests.

The cause of the damage differs depending on your gender: arterial disease in women was linked to either partner demonstrating hostility, but in men it was linked to either showing controlling behaviour.

It was found that the wives who made the most hostile comments during a family discussion had a greater the degree of artery calcification, which indicates that plaque is building up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

Husbands who displayed more dominance or controlling behaviour, or whose wives displayed such behaviour, were more likely than other men to have more severe hardening of the arteries.

"If someone said, 'what's the most important thing I can do to protect my heart health?', my first answers would be 'don't smoke', 'get exercise' and 'eat a sensible diet'," study authors stated. "But somewhere on the list would be 'pay attention to your relationships.' "

See an interview about the study with Dr. Emily Senay. Click on the CBS NEWS video.

Shoot for a healthy marriage. It's good for your health.

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