Married people have a better chance of surviving a stroke, study says

By: Sean Dowling

A long, stable marriage may increase chances of survival after a stroke.

That's according to new research in the Journal of The American Heart Association. It's the first study to see how marriage is related to stroke survival in America.

Duke University researchers found surprising results over an 18-year period. Mainly, the risks of dying after a stroke were 71% greater for adults who never married compared to continuously married adults. For divorced or widowed patients, the risks were 23% and 25% greater respectively. In those divorced or widowed more than once, the risks of dying after a stroke were 39% and 40% greater respectively.

Researchers say the findings don't prove a cause-and-effect relationship, but they do stress the importance of "social support." A spouse can provide emotional support and remind stroke victims to take important medications.

The sample included 2,351 adults aged 41 and older.

Learn more about stroke risk factors:

Stroke risk factors and stroke symptoms
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Stroke risk factors and stroke symptoms

Strokes are more common among the elderly, with the chance of stroke nearly doubling each decade after the age of 55. 

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Stroke risk is greater in those whose immediate family members have had a stroke, and a stroke can be a symptom of various hereditary disorders.

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The risk of death from stroke is higher in African-Americans as they also have higher risks of complications like high blood pressure and diabetes. 

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Women are also more likely to die of a stroke, possibly due to factors such as birth control usage and pregnancy complications.

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Strokes are more likely in people who have already suffered a stroke or a heart attack. 

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Southeastern states are also called the "stroke belt" states, as strokes are more common in this area. 

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Alcohol abuse can lead to many problems, including strokes. 

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Speech difficulties are a major symptom of someone who has had or is having a stroke.

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Possibly the most noticeable sign of stroke is the drooping of one side of the face, or face numbness.

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Weakness on one side of the body is another symptom of a stroke. 

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