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“Til death do us part” might take on a whole new meaning.
A new study revealed that having a romantic partner might actually help keep a person’s blood sugar relatively low — even if the relationship is less than ideal.
The study, published Monday in the BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care journal, revealed that being in a long-term relationship — whether positive or negative — impacts a person’s blood sugar level.
“I would speculate that marriage and cohabitating partnerships require a particular emotional investment over a long period of time,” said Katherine Ford, who authored the study. “The salience of this type of relationship likely means that the loss of it may have implications for health, such as average blood sugar levels.”
According to the research, 3,335 adults aged 50 to 89 years old who were not diagnosed with diabetes were observed from 2004 to 2013 to see if being in a relationship affected their blood sugar levels.
At the time of the experiment, nearly 76% of respondents said they were cohabitating or married. Respondents were also asked about the level of strain on the relationship.
Participants also met with a nurse every year of the experiment to have a blood test called the HbA1c test, a simple and common test used to measure blood sugar levels.
According to the scientists, they were able to deduce that being in a relationship, no matter the strain, tends to keep a person’s blood sugar lower.
“Overall, our results suggested that marital/cohabitating relationships were inversely related to HbA1c levels regardless of dimensions of spousal support or strain,” concluded the study.
“Likewise, these relationships appeared to have a protective effect against HbA1c levels above the pre-diabetes threshold.”
“Increased support for older adults who are experiencing the loss of a marital/cohabitating relationship through divorce or bereavement, as well as the dismantling of negative stereotypes around romantic relationships in later life, may be starting points for addressing health risks,” continued the study. “More specifically deteriorating glycemic regulation, associated with marital transitions in older adults.”
This is not the first study to show that marriage is actually a positive force on a person’s body.
In a 2016 Harvard-based study, it was shown that married people take fewer risks, eat better, and maintain healthier lifestyles.