Research about to be published in the September issue of The Journal of Health and Social Behavior reveals that divorce can adversely affect your heart. Their study focused on 9,000 Boomer-age group people between the ages of 51-61 who went through a divorce or were widowed. It revealed that they had 20% more chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes or even cancer than happily married people.
To avert the possible health effects from the stress that divorce (or loss of spouse) can have on people, the researchers concluded that people should seek counseling to help them deal with the emotional issues that come up during and after these events. In addition, the study recommends having a medical doctor on hand as well who can follow any health issues that might arise. For example, people with high blood pressure going through a divorce or bereavement, may seriously aggravate their condition due to the stress from the event which may lead to stroke.
Doctors report that a healthy diet can help cope with the stress of a divorce or death of a spouse. Adrenal glands over-function under stress and a healthy diet can help normalize their function. Five things to watch under stress include:
Caffeine: Because it’s a stimulant, drinking several cups a day can significantly add to stress levels. Switch to half-calf or limit the amount of regular coffee you drink per day.
Alcohol: Many people turn to alcohol in times of stress. In small amounts it can offer relaxation but in larger amounts it can cause irritability and insomnia, increasing stress.
Nicotine: Under stress, people who smoke often increase their cigarette smoking as a way to calm themselves. Yet, nicotine is a stimulant and actually adds to stress levels.
Sugar: Stress can leave you feeling exhausted and sugar can give you a short term burst of energy. Yet, eating too much aggravates insulin spikes and crashes later worsening fatigue.
B Vitamins: Under stress the B vitamins burn out quickly. They support the nervous system so it is essential to get enough, through either food or supplements, under stress.