A study of nearly a million UK adults has found that being married appears to be good for your health, boosting your chances of survival if you have a major heart risk factor, like high cholesterol.
All of the individuals involved in the study had high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes and the researchers discovered the ones who were married fared much better than those who were single.
Dr Paul Carter and colleagues from Aston Medical School presented the findings of their study at the British Cardiovascular Society conference. They believe that having something special in your life is what’s important, rather than simply being married.
At the end of their 14-year ACALM study, the researchers found that married men and women in their 50s, 60s and 70s with high cholesterol had a 16% greater chance of being alive than their single counterparts.
Dr Carter said: "We need to unpick the underlying reasons a bit more, but it appears there's something about being married that is protective, not only in patients with heart disease but also those with heart disease risk factors.
"We're not saying that everyone should get married though.
"We need to replicate the positive effects of marriage and use friends, family and social support networks in the same way."
Dr Mike Knapton, of the British Heart Foundation, said: "The take-home message is that our social interactions, as well as medical risk factors such as high blood pressure, are important determinants of both our health and wellbeing.
"Whether you are married or not, if you have any of the main risk factors for heart disease, then you can call upon loved ones to help you to manage them."