Divorce is a widely studied topic in this country. Many people in Dallas have likely come across studies explaining what causes divorce, what type of people are more likely to divorce and what divorce may mean for the rest of your life. Yesterday, the results of yet another study about the effects of divorce made headlines. This time, it is specifically related to women and health.

The study, conducted by researchers at Duke University, considered the likelihood of heart problems in people who have divorced compared to people who have not. What researchers found is that the chances of a heart attack are higher for women who have divorced that women who are married and men who divorce.

The results of the study — which tracked several people over 18 years and adjusted for other possible contributing factors — showed that women who divorce once have a 24 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack than women who are married and have never been divorced. The risk goes up to 77 percent for women who have divorced twice or more. Men, on the other hand, did not experience any increase in risk of heart problems until they divorced for a second time.

So, what does all of this mean? Are Dallas women who go through divorce at more risk of a heart attack? It is possible, but the researchers also acknowledged that the way we deal with stressful social situations is very important. It is no secret that divorce is stressful, but how you cope with it can help protect your health.

If you are going through a divorce, it may be wise to talk to your doctor about it. Your doctor can monitor important your body’s response to stress and catch any problems early on, so you can make adjustments to stay healthy during and after your divorce.

Of course, a study like this is not a good reason to avoid divorce. Being stuck in a marriage that isn’t working can be just as stressful as going through a divorce. If you are considering divorce, finding an experienced attorney who you are compatible with can help make the process a little easier.

Source: TIME, “What Divorce Does to Women’s Heart Health,” Alice Park, April 14, 2015