Relationship problems can increase blood pressure, cholesterol and cause obesity which could potentially lead to heart disease. However, men showed no physical ill effects.
A study of 276 couples revealed the link, with participants being asked to fill in a questionnaire about the status of their relationship, and then given medical exam. The study has highlighted the important of looking after emotional and physical health, and how trying to improve relationships can improve general health and well being.
The study’s co-author, Tim Smith, said: “The immediate implication is that if you are interested in your cardiovascular risk – and we all should be because it is the leading killer for both genders – we should be concerned about not just traditional risk factors [such as blood pressure and cholesterol] but the quality of our emotional and family lives.”