Losing a spouse makes men 70% more likely to die within a year

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According to a study published Mar. 22, researchers in Denmark, the U.K. and Singapore found, that losing a spouse especially makes men more vulnerable.

The researchers studied data from almost one million Danish citizens ages 65 and older. They found that the younger people were when they lost their partner, the more likely they were to die within a year.

The researchers also found that in the year after losing a spouse, men were 70% more likely to die than men at the same age who did not lose a spouse. Women were only 27% more likely to die compared to the women who did not become widowed.

Old age in general means a higher risk of death, and couples often share lifestyle habits that play a role in health, like diet and exercise routines. But because of the study’s large size and long the long follow-up period at up to six years, the researchers were able to pinpoint specific risk factors caused by the widowhood effect.

Does not affect health care expenses

The study also included data on people’s health care expenses before and after losing a spouse. This metric allowed the researchers to draw connections, including that the increased risk of death among younger grieving spouses doesn’t come with an increase in health care spending as it does for older grieving spouses. According to experts, this indicates that shock rather than weakness, might be the key hazard for younger people dying after losing their partner.

Experts also note that this may not apply to all people. In areas of the world with a more collective culture than Denmark, increased social support following spousal loss, or places with a different view on the meaning of death, could affect these outcomes.

It’s also not known whether these findings would apply to non-heterosexual relationships, or relationships between unmarried couples.

Source: time.com

About Miabell Mallikka

Miabell Mallikka is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

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