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

Can fluctuating personal income increase the risk of heart disease

Can fluctuating personal income increase the risk of heart disease

"Income volatility presents a growing public health threat, especially when federal programs, which are meant to help absorb unpredictable income changes, are undergoing continuous changes, and mostly cuts", study lead author Tali Elfassy, an assistant professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, said in a press release. The investigators gathered data on almost 4,000 participants who were between the ages of 23 and 35 back in 1990.

"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.

Those caught in an income squeeze can also have their health affected by more practical problems, Arnett added.

The study did not explore what drives the association between income changes and heart events but earlier studies already established a link between stress, which can be caused by income changes, and poor cardiovascular health.

People who had the most volatile incomes between 1990 and 2005 were a little more than twice as likely to develop heart disease and 78 percent more likely to die from any cause during the following decade, compared with people with the most stable incomes, Elfassy and her colleagues found.

As part of the study, people reported their income five times between 1990 and 2005, at regular intervals.

Sudden, unpredictable drops in personal income during young adulthood are associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease and/or dying from any cause, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

"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.

The team then tracked these people to see if income changes were associated with their health outcomes. "Future studies focused on understanding mechanisms underlying the association between income volatility with CVD and mortality are warranted", the researchers wrote in their study.

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

So, what should you do if you're someone with highly unstable income?

"When you're in those situations that are stressful, it's hard to do what is best".

On the other hand, Elfassy said, getting a little exercise can help ward off the harmful effects of a dissolving paycheck. Simply going for a 15-minute walk every day would have benefits in and of itself.