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Marriage Is Sweet, and Helps Blood Sugar Levels

Marriage Is Sweet, and Helps Blood Sugar Levels

From WebMD: Living with a spouse or a partner may help middle-age and older adults keep their blood sugar level in check, new research suggests.

And it doesn't even have to be an ideal union. Just having the relationship seems to provide benefit, whether the partners described it as supportive or strained. 

Katherine J. Ford, PhD, with the Department of Psychology at Carleton University in Ontario, Canada, led the study, published online today in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

The team used data from 2004 to 2013 from more than 3,000 people in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), a sample of adults in England ages 50-89 and their partners.

The people studied had not been diagnosed with diabetes and were asked over a decade about whether they had a wife, husband, or partner and whether there had been a change in their partnership status.

Ford says they saw an improvement – an average 0.2% decrease in HbA1c, a measure of average blood sugar concentrations over 3 months -- when participants transitioned into a marriage or domestic partnership and a worsening, in this case a 0.2% increase in HbA1c, when they left such a relationship.

To put the results into some context, the researchers say that other work has suggested that a decrease of 0.2% in the average HbA1c value "would decrease excess mortality by 25%.”

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