People who have a partner by their side live longer than widows or widowers, a study in Japan confirms.
Deaths among single men peak at the age of 66, compared to the average age of 81, while women whose husbands are still alive tend to live eight to 10 years longer than single women. Still, widowed women live longer than widowers.
The prime cause of death among widowers is not cancer but diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, which suggests their deaths are mostly caused by an unhealthy lifestyle if they are on their own.
Marriage, in other words, comes with its own headaches, but it contributes to longevity by moderating excess, encouraging a healthier lifestyle and reducing depression.
Suicide rates among senior citizens run high among those living alone, while conjugal harmony eases stresses. People also tend to exercise more if they have a spouse to chivvy them along.
According to cardiologists, a large number of stroke victims who die after being brought to emergency rooms in the early hours of the morning are discovered late because they live alone or sleep in separate rooms from their spouses.
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