Report card: my month of eating Mediterranean

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

May, as you may recall, was National Mediterranean Diet Month, celebrated at our house with a helpful Oldways calendar posted on the fridge with 31 daily suggestions on how to introduce more heart-healthy Med Month changes into our regular routine. As threatened promised, here’s how I did:  Continue reading “Report card: my month of eating Mediterranean”

When being married makes being sick worse

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Research suggests that being happily married can have a big effect on helping us recover from serious health crises like a heart attack. For men, in fact, marriage doesn’t even have to be particularly happy to increase positive health outcomes. Just the mere state of being married, happily or miserably, apparently leads to better outcomes in males.

But not so for women. A study from the University of Utah, for example, tells us that after 15 years of follow-up, researchers found that 83% of happily wedded wives were still alive after their cardiac bypass surgery, versus only 28% of women in unhappy marriages.  They also found that women who report high levels of marital strain also report depression, high blood pressure, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, obesity and other signs of metabolic syndrome – a cluster of known risk factors for cardiovascular disease. And in 2006, the American Journal of Cardiology published a study that found patients with both severe heart disease and poor marriages had a four times higher risk of dying over a four-year period.

So consider for example, how the day-to-day reality described by these heart patients might affect their prognoses:     Continue reading “When being married makes being sick worse”

Why female shift workers may be at risk for heart disease

Here at the annual Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in beautiful Vancouver, we’ve learned some bad news about female shift workers.

As researcher Dr. Joan Tranmer – a former nurse herself with over 15 years of experience working rotating shifts –  told her conference audience:

“Women hospital staff working night shifts may be compromising their own health as they try to improve the health of patients.”   Continue reading “Why female shift workers may be at risk for heart disease”

Marriage triples our bypass surgery survival rates – but only if it’s happy

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

While the recent headlines about this new cardiac study suggest that a happy marriage can triple (and even quadruple!) your longterm survival chances after heart bypass surgery, there’s more behind this story than the wedded bliss angle.

Researchers from the University of Rochester tell us that happily married people who undergo coronary bypass surgery are three times more likely to be alive 15 years later compared to their unmarried counterparts. For happily married women, those odds can actually jump to four times higher.

But buried in the good news hype is another important fact: that for women who do not rate their marriage as happy, survival stats are virtually identical to those for unmarried women.  Continue reading “Marriage triples our bypass surgery survival rates – but only if it’s happy”

Poor marriage = poor heart health for women

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

Did you know that men who are married – happily or not – are generally far healthier than their unmarried buddies?  A man’s physical health apparently benefits simply from the state of being married, whether or not he rates it as a good marriage.

But a woman’s overall health can be significantly threatened by trouble at home, according to researchers at the University of Utah.(1)  Women respond to unhappy marriages by being three times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome – a cluster of serious cardiac risk factors that can lead to heart disease.   click here to continue reading