Doctors can now add one more factor to their prescription for subsequent heart attack prevention: a close relationship.
A new study shows having a close relationship with another person, whether it be a friend, lover or relative, lowers the risk of further heart attacks by 50 percent. This was true even after taking into account the severity of the first heart attack and other risk factors. Researchers suggest those people who do not have a close confidant may delay seeking treatment or be less likely to adhere to treatment after a heart attack.
Earlier research proposes depression as a predictor of heart attacks and death from heart attacks. However, this study found that patients who were depressed before their first heart attack were not more likely to die from or suffer further cardiac events.
Researchers say that even though depression was not found to be associated with heart attack outcomes and deaths, the high prevalence of depression among the study participants, one in four, points to the importance of it as a risk factor for heart attacks.
The research involved 600 patients, average age 60. They were screened three to four days after having a heart attack and were monitored for 12 months to assess their risk of a later heart attack. The researchers studied the degree of intimacy in close relationships rather than the number of contacts.The study revealed that having a shoulder to lean on carries significant potential to help prevent a second heart attack, and maybe even a first heart attack