Researchers at the Aston Medical School in the United Kingdom have recently conducted an experiment which was then published in the “European Society of Cardiology, determining the fact that how does a person’s marital status can affect heart ailments. It found that patients who are married receive a better support system which helps them in controlling their risk factors for heart diseases which ultimately assists them in surviving such sickness. For making a thorough investigation into this matter, researchers had been focusing on big data analysis and dug into the data from the Algorithm for Comorbidities, Associations, Length of Stay and Mortality (ACALM) to assess over 900,000 patients, who were single, widowed or married and were hospitalized in England from 2000 to 2013. Through getting the help of several hospitals, the data is collected routinely.
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Studies are conducted using the data which is analyzed and used in research studies using an algorithm. The common thing about these patients was that most of them had cardiovascular risk factors, such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and some had already suffered a heart attack previously. Statistics collected show that about 25,000 patients had suffered a heart attack previously, more than 1,68,000 patients had high blood pressure, near about 53,000 had high cholesterol levels and 68,000 of them were suffering from Type 2 diabetes.
Of all the patients who had suffered a heart attack, people who were married were 14% more likely to survive this fatal event than the people who were single. Married patients with high blood pressure had a 10% higher survival rate than non-married patients. Married participants who had high cholesterol had a 16% higher survival rate and the married individuals suffering from diabetes had a 14% higher survival chance.
According to lead author Paul Carter, “Marriage, and having a spouse at home, is likely to offer emotional and physical support on a number of levels ranging from encouraging patients to live healthier lifestyles, helping them to cope with the condition and helping them to comply with their medical treatments”. He also made a statement that “Our findings suggest that marriage is one way that patients can receive support to successfully control their risk factors for heart disease, and ultimately survive with them." He added, “The nature of a relationship is important and there is a lot of evidence that stress and stressful life events, such as divorce, are linked to heart disease,” Stating further, “With this in mind, we also found that divorced patients with high blood pressure or a previous heart attack had lower survival rates than married patients with the same condition.” Researchers and scientists suggested that doctors provide all the necessary support to people who are at the risk of heart disease by giving patients’ spouse, family and friends proper tools to assist them in recovery. They also encouraged for the patients to undergo rehabilitation courses, support groups, and holistic treatments.
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Patients suffering from these preventable, yet dangerous risk factors should follow the medication and adopt the lifestyle as advised by their doctors. Social support networks help in limiting these risks and thus are very vital in enhancing the coping rate Senior Author, Dr. Rahul Potluri has also stated, “Heart attacks are devastating events. It’s important that patients receive the necessary support to cope with them whether it’s from a spouse, friends, family or anyone they choose to involve in their care. Doctors need to treat patients in a holistic manner and encourage this as well as the use of support groups and rehabilitation courses.” The data collected from the UK research study indicate that among the Indian Population, there is a 20% greater chronic occlusion of heart blood vessels than the locals and people with much younger age are afflicted with the disease. Among the Indians residing in the U.K., there is about 30 % greater chance of diabetes than the Caucasian population. Rahul Potluri on this point said, “We have double the rate of incidence of heart attacks in the 40 to 60 years age group as against the Caucasian population. In the West, we see 70-year-old patients coming with a heart attack, but in India, we are increasingly seeing 30 to 40-year-old patients which is dangerous as it afflicts in the prime age.
Currently, Indian Patients are being treated on the basis of data collected from abroad from the Caucasian population. But the point is that the data from our own population will enable us to administer the right therapy to the right patients. The drugs which are being used at present come from the U.S. and Europe, which may not work that well with the Indian patients. In order to get the correct dietary regimen and correct medicines, the need of the hour is to build an infrastructure for the analysis of the disease pattern which will help in understanding the core of the problem.
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Potluri, who is among the first in the U.K. to use big data in medical research found, “reasons for the higher incidences in India is the rapid adoption of Western habits, in addition to the known predisposition of Indians to heart disease. In the near future, we will collate the data from individual hospitals here and analyze it, which can throw up interesting findings,'' He also said, "Currently in India it is 'Treat policy' rather than prevent policy, unlike in the Western countries. The society as a whole has to address the issues of health here through a collaborative effort. If we continue like this without corrective measures, the heart disease burden will reach uncontrollable proportion.