Fluctuations In Income Greatly Affect Future Heart Health

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Fluctuations In Income Greatly Affect Future Heart Health
Fluctuations In Income Greatly Affect Future Heart Health
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Fluctuations in income greatly affect future heart health

A significant drop in income is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new US study, and, conversely, higher wages may protect against heart failure.

Fluctuations in income greatly affect future heart health
Fluctuations in income greatly affect future heart health

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A new study from Harvard Medical School, published in JAMA Cardiology, shows that falling incomes increase the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke and heart failure. In contrast, higher incomes reduce this risk.

The researchers tracked the income and cardiovascular health of nearly 9,000 adults in four counties in the United States. Their income was reported twice (1987-1989 and 1993-1995) and their heart health was monitored until 2016.

Adults aged 45 to 64 were divided into three groups based on whether their income had increased by at least 50%, decreased, or remained stable for six years.

During this time, every tenth participant's income fell by more than 50%. And the loss of income, the results showed, corresponded to a 17% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease (including myocardial infarction, fatal coronary heart disease, heart failure, and stroke) compared to those whose incomes were stable.

An increase in income of more than 50% occurred for every fifth participant. The researchers found that in this group, the likelihood of heart failure decreased by 14% over the next 25 years.

The researchers note that the findings do not show a causal relationship. It is unclear whether income or job loss is leading to worse cardiovascular health, or whether heart disease may have caused financial problems. However, there are many potential reasons why financial problems can affect heart health.

“First, an unexpected drop in income can trigger changes in health behavior, such as eating more nutritious foods or increasing alcohol or cigarette consumption. Losing health insurance can make it difficult to get good health care, and lower incomes can exacerbate the stress or depression associated with heart disease,”said study lead author Stephen Wang.

One limitation of the study is that when health problems arise, a pay cut is likely to follow. The researchers hope that doctors, knowing the risks, will pay more attention to the financial circumstances of patients during cardiac examinations.

“There are social factors that make up a significant portion of someone's risk of cardiovascular disease. This topic is not particularly discussed in medicine. We focus on medical devices and medicines. In the future, we must focus on one and the other,”summed up Stephen Wang.

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