ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
CANCER
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
CAREGIVING
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Vegan or Raw-Vegan at Regular Restaurants
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Atkins Diet Tougher on Heart After Weight Loss
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
FITNESS
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Stressed and Exhausted: An Introduction to Adrenal Fatigue
Kids More Apt to Smoke If Mom Did While Pregnant
Have Fun But Put Play It Safe on the 4th
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
When It Comes to Toys, Shop Smart, Shop Safe
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
MEN'S HEALTH
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Add your Article

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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