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For women, bad marriages could lead to cardiovascular disease, study suggests

Older women in self-described bad marriages are at

Older women in self-described bad marriages are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease than women who say they are in a good marriage, according to a Michigan State University researcher. Photo Credit: iStock

A bad marriage could lead to a bad heart.

Older women in self-described bad marriages are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease than women who say they are in a good marriage, according to a Michigan State University researcher. Hui Liu, an associate professor of sociology, studied about 1,200 married men and women, ages 57-85. She found that women who said their husbands are too critical or too demanding had higher blood pressure and reported higher incidences of heart attacks and strokes. Men did not suffer the same harmful effects, even if they said their marriage was bad. Liu says the reason may be because women "tend to internalize negative feelings."

Liu notes that although marriage counseling is typically focused on younger couples, spouses in their 70s and 80s could benefit from seeking professional guidance.

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