But there’s a catch: The marriage has to be a happy one. Men who reported dissatisfying marriages were just as likely as single men to die of a stroke. Researchers reported these findings at the ASA’s International Stroke Conference.
Happiness is music to your cardiovascular system.
Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston reported in 2001 that among older individuals, positive moods and attitudes protected against strokes. Even incremental increases in happiness helped.
For every step up on the researchers’ happiness scale, male participants’ stroke risk dropped 41 percent. Women’s risk dropped 18 percent per happiness unit.
Even if you’re not happy, it might pay to act like you are. The researchers speculate that happy people are more likely to get medical care, exercise and stay healthy. These are all protective factors against stroke.
Being Obese Can Cause Stroke
More weight means a higher risk of stroke, according to researchers from the University of Minnesota.
In a study presented at the International Stroke Conference, researchers followed more than 13,000 Americans for 19 years. They found that the risk of stroke in people with the highest body mass index (BMI) was 1.43 to 2.12 times higher than in those with the lowest body mass index. BMI is calculated with a person’s height and weight and is considered an indicator of body fatness.
The reason for the correlation is that some stroke risk factors are worsened by obesity, study co-author Hiroshi Yatsuya said in a statement. The biggest culprits, according to the data are high blood pressure and diabetes.
Smoking Can Cause Stroke
Lighting up nearly doubles your risk of stroke, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Fortunately, quitting can drop that risk back down, even for heavy smokers. One 1988 study found that former smokers had the same rate of stroke as nonsmokers five years after snuffing their last cigarette.