Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size
A
A
A

The Importance of Being -- Married

There are many reasons to choose wisely and carefully when picking a spouse, but here's one you may not know: New research suggests that a good marriage is good for your health -- and that a bad one can be a real heartbreaker.

WebMD Feature

There are many good reasons to choose wisely and carefully when picking a spouse -- not the least of which is that you'll be spending an awful lot of time with them in both the near and distant future, possibly even raising children together.

So you want to find someone with whom you are compatible, share values -- someone who makes you happy. But perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to make an informed choice is that your spouse can affect your physical health in very direct, measurable ways.

Recommended Related to Healthy Seniors

Healthy Living Is the Real Fountain of Youth

You won't find a miracle age eraser in a bottle or magic pill. There's only one secret to looking and feeling younger, and that's better living. These seven simple steps from WebMD's top women's health experts will reinvigorate every part of your body, helping you feel stronger, more energized, and youthful -- no matter how many candles you blow out on your next birthday. 1. Bone Up on Calcium To keep your perfect posture and avoid the senior slump, a milk mustache is the must-have...

Read the Healthy Living Is the Real Fountain of Youth article > >

"The choice of spouse is one of the most significant you'll make in your life; it is more serious than choosing a house or anything," says Brian Baker, a psychiatrist at the University of Toronto. "There is nothing like a good, solid marriage."

The Heart of the Matter

Baker should know: He has spent the past decade conducting studies that look at the effect of marital strain on cardiovascular health. In one of his most recent studies, he followed both men and women with borderline high blood pressure for three years and found that blood pressure is directly linked to what he calls "marital cohesion" -- how much couples do and share together.

"We found that if you had a bad marriage, it was best to avoid your spouse -- because if you are with your spouse, your blood pressure went up, and if you weren't with your spouse, your blood pressure went down," says Baker. "In a good marriage the opposite was the case."

An earlier study found that couples in good marriages had thinner heart walls than those in bad marriages. A thicker heart wall means higher blood pressure, "so that is an interesting finding," says Baker.

While the majority of studies so far have looked at cardiovascular effects, the plusses and minuses of marriage don't appear to be limited to that system.

In fact, they could be tied to how your body handles stress, says Baker, and the way that stress manifests itself could control the system most affected.

"It could be the immune system, or depression, gastrointestinal problems, rashes, or emotional disorders like anxiety conditions," he says.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

blueberries
Eating for a longer, healthier life.
woman biking
How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
 
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
 
fast healthy snack ideas
Article
how healthy is your mouth
Tool
 
dog on couch
Tool
doctor holding syringe
Slideshow
 
champagne toast
Slideshow
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Quiz
 
Man feeding woman
Slideshow
two senior women laughing
Article