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Polygamy increases risk of heart disease

Thursday April 30th, 2015

Men who have more than one wife have a four-fold increased risk of heart disease, according to a study in Saudi Arabia.

Dr Amin Daoulah, a cardiologist at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah, said pressures to maintain separate households could add to the pressure.

The prospective multicentre observational research by Dr Daoulah looked at 687 married men whose average age was 59 years and examined the relationship between the presence and severity of coronary artery disease and the number of wives they each had.

Of the cohort, 68% of the men had one wife, while 19% had two wives, 10% had three wives and 3% had four wives. 56% had diabetes, 57% had hypertension and 45% had a history of coronary heart disease.

Men with more than one wife were more likely to be older, live in a rural area, have a higher income and have a history of coronary artery bypass grafting.

The researchers found that men with more than wife had a 4.6-fold increased risk of coronary heart disease, a 3.5-fold increased risk of left main disease, and a 2.6-fold increased risk of multi-vessel disease.

Dr Daoulah, who will go into the details of his research at the Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology Congress 2015, said: “This could be because the need to provide and maintain separate households multiplies the financial burden and emotional expense.

“Each household must be treated fairly and equally, and it seems likely that the stress of doing that for several spouses and possibly several families of children is considerable.

“However, unmeasured confounding variables such as physical activity, level of intimacy, dietary habits and genetic effects from interbreeding with close relatives needs to be analysed in greater depth as they may influence the outcome.”

He admitted that coronary heart disease and polygamy was only an association and not a root cause, which meant further studies were needed.

The Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology Congress 2015 takes place in Abu Dhabi until 2 May.

Tags: Asia | Heart Health | Men's Health | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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