ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
CANCER
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Immune Therapy May Aid Kids With Neuroblastoma
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
CAREGIVING
Exercise During Pregnancy May Help Baby
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
DIABETES
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
DIET, NUTRITION
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
Keep Stress Off the Holiday Meal Menu, Expert Advises
Trans-Fat Ban In New York City Is Proving successful
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Global Warming Linked to Heightened Kidney Stone Risk
Heavy Traffic Can Be Heartbreaking
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
FITNESS
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Barefoot Best for Running?
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
Autumn Chores Often Hazardous
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Gene Variation Found in Boys With Delinquent Peers
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
How Much Fish to Eat While Pregnant?
Soy May Not Lead to Denser Breasts
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Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health

THURSDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- The cardiovascular damage wrought by an unhappy marriage may be greater for women than men, a new study shows.

While both men and women in "strained" unions, those marked by arguing and being angry, were more likely to feel depressed than happier partners, the women in the contentious relationships were more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and other markers of what's known as "metabolic syndrome," said study author Nancy Henry, a doctoral candidate in clinical healthy psychology at the University of Utah.

Metabolic syndrome is known to boost the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

While many studies have linked poor marriages with poor health, Henry said she believes her is the first to tie in depression as a possible route through which the strain boosts the risk of metabolic syndrome. "The negativity triggers the depression, which is associated with the metabolic syndrome," said Henry. This was found true, she said, only for the women in her study.

For the study, she interviewed 276 couples, median age 54, by questionnaires, asking about positive aspects of marriage quality such as mutual support and sharing, and negative aspects such as arguing, feelings of hostility and disagreeing over important issues such as kids, sex, money and in-laws. She asked about depressive symptoms.

Couples were married, on average, 27.5 years, most in their original marriage.

"For the most part, you could say, these were happily married couples," Henry said. About 20 percent of the men and 12 percent of the women in the study had metabolic syndrome (diagnosed when three of the five risk factors were present).

The men were as likely as the women to become depressed with marital strain, but the link between negativity, depression and metabolic syndrome only applied to women, she said. The depression in women accounted for the metabolic syndrome, she said.

Exactly why isn't known, but Henry speculated that women may take the negativity more to heart and ruminate about it more than men.

Henry can't say specifically how much risk of metabolic syndrome is attributed to the negativity. Earlier research has linked negativity in marriage with an increased risk of heart disease for both men and women.

She was expected to present her findings Thursday at the American Psychosomatic Society annual meeting, in Chicago.

Another researcher in the field called the findings interesting, especially the new focus on depression as a possible mechanism through which the strain influences the metabolic syndrome.

"The study raises the importance of increasing our understanding of how depression influences biological processes that result in metabolic syndrome -- and why these processes might be stronger for women than men," said Debra Umberson, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.

The findings, Umberson said, fit in with her research finding a strong effect of marital strain on partners' overall health. But the gender difference finding differs from her research. "Basically, we find that marital strain undermines the health of men and women," she said, adding that perhaps the men in Henry's study had their health influenced in a different way.

More research is needed, Henry said, to figure out how the pieces fit together.

Meanwhile, Umberson said: "Choose your partner carefully. A strained marriage is bad for your health." If it's already strained, she said, focus on reducing conflict.

- Kathleen Doheny

More information

To learn about improving a marriage, visit the American Psychological Association.



SOURCES: Nancy Henry, Ph.D., candidate, clinical health psychology, University of Utah, and clinical psychology intern, Salt Lake City VA Healthcare System; Debra Umberson, Ph.D., professor, sociology, University of Texas at Austin; March 5, 2009, presentation, American Psychosomatic Society annual meeting, Chicago

Last Updated: March 05, 2009

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