Ever heard of the matching hypothesis? It's where people who look alike tend to pair off into couples. Well, now scientists have found similarity between couples isn't only skin deep. They tend to share the same risk for cardiovascular disease. Another reason to dot your I's and cross your T's before you tie the knot.
This study out of China published in JAMA Network Open looked at 800 young newlyweds' blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. Study leader Dr. Ravi Retnakaran, professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, said the study to investigate the cardiovascular risk factors of young newlyweds was inspired by previous studies that had shown a relationship between cardiovascular risk in older married couples.
Taking it a step further, these researchers were curious to know if similar cardiovascular health between couples was from years of sharing a similar environment and lifestyle together or from assortative mating, where partners choose each other because they already share similar behaviors and lifestyle perspectives. That's where the young newlywed population came into play.
Newlyweds were recruited from a marriage health clinic, many planning to conceive within 6 months. Researchers collected baseline measures including weight, height, waist circumference, blood pressure and fasting lipids. They also tracked those women who did conceive on factors including preterm delivery, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.
After adjusting for income, education, smoking, and BMI, newlywed pairs shared similar blood pressure, high-density cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Out of those couples who became parents, spouses shared similar systolic blood pressure and high-density cholesterol levels.
Retnakaran commented, "The spousal concordance of cardiovascular risk factors in young newly married couples is thus suggestive of assortative mating as the likely basis for shared vascular risk factor profile that has been documented in older martial partners."
What's the practical application of this research? If one person in a couple is found to have cardiovascular risk factors at a medical appointment, it may be a good idea to also evaluate their partner for early intervention through family-based assessments to keep parents healthier longer for each other and for their children.
And for those in the dating game, don't fret. Your subconscious mind may very well pick up on a suitable partner that just happens to meet your cardiovascular profile too.