Fluctuating personal income may be associated with an increased heart disease risk

Fluctuating Income Places You At Risk Of Heart Attack And Early Death

Fluctuating Income Places You At Risk Of Heart Attack And Early Death

Fluctuations in personal income will likely harm your financial well-being, but more surprisingly, unpredictable changes in income are also bad for your physical health, a new study shows.

Researchers of a new study published in the journal Circulation looked at the data of almost 4,000 individuals starting from when they were 23 years old until they turned 35 years old.

"Fluctuations in income are actually very common", Elfassy said.

Lead author Assistant Professor Dr Tali Elfassy at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida said in the United States the recent rise in income inequality suggests that a larger proportion of the population faces poverty and economic difficulties.

However, the study failed to determine the cause of the association between income volatility and health, as it was observational and not created to precisely prove cause and effect. "So nearly 50 percent of the study population had changes in income, increases and decreases, across the study period".

High income volatility (defined by an individual's standard deviation of change from 1990-2005) was associated with a higher risk of death (HR 1.78, 95% CI 1.03-3.09) and of cardiovascular disease (HR 2.07, 95% CI 1.10-3.90) than low volatility, reported Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, PhD, of the University of Miami, and colleagues in Circulation.

The study found a significant association with the biggest fluctuations in personal income and more than double the risk for cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes, heart failure or death during the following 10 years.

The study noted while from young adulthood through midlife, most individuals experience at least some increases in income. Elfassy explained: "While this study is observational in nature and certainly not an evaluation of such programs, our results do highlight that large negative changes in income may be detrimental to heart health and may contribute to premature death".

The team then tracked these people to see if income changes were associated with their health outcomes.

Arnett said that it's hard to remain heart-healthy when you're facing the stress of a job loss or pay cut. You go into survival mode.

On the other hand, Elfassy said, getting a little exercise can help ward off the harmful effects of a dissolving paycheck. "There are low-priced ways to adequately obtain physical activity", Elfassy said.

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, the American Heart Association, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging.

The American Heart Association has more about stress and heart disease.

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