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A recently released review of more than 30 studies -- performed by a well-known university -- indicates that divorce can create health problems for some people. In fact, the review concluded that people who get divorced have a 23 percent greater chance of dying early compared to people who are married.

Researchers compared the health effects divorce has on some people to common public-health risks like obesity, smoking and heavy drinking. We do not say this to scare anyone away from getting a divorce -- for many people in California it is the right decision that results in a happier life -- rather we simply want to raise awareness so those who do choose to divorce will continue to be conscious of their health as they go through the process. And while the study results may seem scary, researchers were quick to add that the results were not conclusive.

There are many other factors that can lead to health risks after divorce, and researchers say it is possible that health problems could be a factor in several divorces. The lead author on the study said people should not assume that marriage is good for your health and divorce is bad for it. He pointed to other research that has shown that most divorced people lead happy lives and 75 percent of divorced people end up getting remarried.

The lead author added that there is a small group of people who are severely affected by a divorce. Depression is not uncommon for these people. Some go through weight gain, become lonely and experience difficulty sleeping. From here, other health problems can occur like cardiovascular disease, which is often linked with depression.

What we can all learn from this article is that taking care of ourselves is important in all stages of our lives.

Source: USA Today, "UA study: Divorce can raise risk of early death," Anne Ryman, Jan. 10, 2012

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