Can fluctuating personal income increase the risk of heart disease?

How Losing Money Can Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease—Even If You're Young

The research also found high income volatility and income drops were experienced more by women and African-Americans than white men.

Researchers observed almost 4,000 individuals ages 23-35 across four different American cities, assessing participants' income over a period of 15 years from 1990 to 2005.

"Another potential limitation of this paper is we haven't really explored mechanisms of action, we are really looking at income and not how this process of income fluctuation translated into health outcomes, we are not looking at the biological mechanism there", Elfassy continued. It should be noted that income inequality is a rising concern in countries like the United States and this factor can be read along the lines of an increase in the number of cardiovascular patients.

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. In this case, income volatility or fluctuating income meant a 25% or greater decrease in earnings.

Changes in income were recorded in five assessments from 1990 to 2005.

Sudden, unpredictable drops in personal income during adulthood are associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease or dying from any cause, a U.S. study warns.

Unpredictable drops in income are also associated with all causes of mortality, according to the study.

Prof Elfassy said: "Income volatility is generally considered to be a sudden and unpredictable change in income over time, and most often it consists of declines in income".

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Those who had the biggest fluctuations in personal income were significantly more at risk, scientists found.

"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", Elfassy said.

People under stress tend to have increased blood pressure and inflammation, likely due to higher levels of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol, Arnett said.

Patients with an unstable income "may subsequently be a high priority group for cardiovascular disease screening and interventions in a clinical setting", the researchers emphasized.

"When you're in those situations that are stressful, it's hard to do what is best. You may be more likely to have a beer and have a cigarette for stress relief", Arnett added.

"You don't need to take an expensive yoga class. There are low-priced ways to adequately obtain physical activity", Elfassy said.

The study was published the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

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

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