Heartache can really be bad for your heart – especially if you’re a woman.
According to new research from the University of Utah, women in strained marriages are more likely to suffer the risk factors for heart disease than their husbands.
Those risk factors are known as metabolic syndrome, and they include symptoms like hypertension, obesity at the waistline, and high blood sugar.
While smoking, diet and exercise remain key factors leading to metabolic syndrome, the study authors say emotional health also plays a part.
The study assessed nearly 300 couples. While men and women in bad marriages both reported depressive symptoms, only the women had more signs of metabolic syndrome. That shows men appear to be insulated from the medical problems that this kind of emotional strain can cause.
The study authors suspect this may have something to do with women’s increased attentiveness to the quality of their personal relationships. They believe men are not as attuned to this, may be less concerned when there are problems.
The findings add to a growing body of knowledge about gender-specific risks for heart disease – another area where men may be from Mars and women from Venus.