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Lifelong Bachelors Fare Worse When Heart Failure Strikes

THURSDAY, Feb. 23, 2023 (HealthDay News) — When heart failure strikes, being a lifelong bachelor may mean you may die earlier than women or previously married men diagnosed with the identical condition, a brand new study suggests.



Lifetime marital history appears to be a crucial predictor of survival in men with heart failure, but not women. Specifically, lifelong bachelors had significantly worse long-term survival than men who had been married, separated, divorced or widowed, said senior researcher Dr. David Kao, an associate professor of drugs on the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora.

In contrast, women with heart failure who had never been married didn’t seem like at higher risk of death than those that had, he added.

“These findings suggest that marriage has some sort of useful effect for men that helps them survive longer after developing heart failure,” Kao said. “At present, we have now not identified precisely what these effects are, but they might include health-seeking behaviors, socioeconomic and family support in older age, or differences in aspects like frailty and nutrition, and mood.”

The dearth of difference in survival between women with different marital histories could indicate that either the identical aspects will not be as clinically useful in women or possibly that there are fewer deficits in those traits which might be affected through marriage, Kao said.

With heart failure, the center becomes too weak or stiff to pump blood to the body effectively. There isn’t a cure for heart failure, but medications, dietary modifications and regular physical activity will help patients live longer and reduce symptoms reminiscent of shortness of breath, fatigue and swelling.

For the study, Kao’s team used data on 6,800 American adults aged 45 to 84. Among the many 94 participants who suffered from heart failure at 12 months 10 of the study, the researchers compared survival rates from when heart failure was diagnosed and marital status over a mean follow-up of 5 years.

The investigators found that men who had never been married were greater than twice as more likely to die inside roughly five years after diagnosis than women of any marital status.

Lifelong bachelors were about two times more more likely to die than men who were married. Furthermore, widowed, divorced or separated men weren’t at an increased risk of dying, compared with married men, the researchers noted.

“Non-medical aspects, reminiscent of relationship history, can have a major impact on the course of heart failure,” Kao said. “Moreover, these aspects may not carry the identical importance for all groups; on this case, relationship history appears to be rather more necessary in men than women. Recognition of those aspects may help discover latest interpersonal strategies that might help improve the flexibility of patients to deal with heart failure.”

The findings are scheduled for presentation March 4 on the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, in Recent Orleans. Findings presented at medical meetings needs to be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Heart failure is among the many leading causes of cardiovascular-related hospitalizations and death, said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center and co-chief of the UCLA division of cardiology in Los Angeles.

“Social determinants of health are increasingly recognized as necessary contributors to the danger of heart failure and mortality amongst individuals with established heart failure,” Fonarow said.

“Medical therapies, when prescribed and adhered to, can markedly reduce the danger of mortality in men and ladies with heart failure,” he said. It is likely to be that bachelors are less more likely to adhere to their medications, which can affect their survival, he suggested.

“While further studies are needed to explore the potential mechanisms for these observed associations, it is feasible that marital status could influence the use and adherence to those useful therapies,” Fonarow said.

To combat these problems, Kao’s group suggested that doctors talk with patients about their home life and consider how their relationships might affect their heart failure prognosis.

More information

For more on heart failure, head to the American Heart Association.

SOURCES: David Kao, MD, associate professor, medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora; Gregg Fonarow, MD, director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, and co-chief, UCLA Division of Cardiology, Los Angeles; presentation, American College of Cardiology meeting, Recent Orleans, March 4, 2023

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