Study links income to heart disease in younger adults

By Tauren Dyson

Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A fluctuating income can increase a person's risk for heart disease, a new study suggests.

Unexpected dips in personal income for young adults have been linked to nearly double the risk of death and greater than a 50 percent increase in risk for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure during the following 10 years when compared to people with less variation, according to a study published Monday in the journal Circulation.


"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 study, which began in 1990, measured income drop as a decrease of 25 percent or more. The researchers looked at cardiovascular events among participants that led to death or illness between 2005 and 2015.

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Income fluctuations were more prevalent among black people and women, according to the study.

Overall, about one in four deaths in the United States results from heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking all contribute to the condition.


The study focused on people in 1990, between ages 23 and 35, living in Birmingham, Ala., Minneapolis, Minn., Chicago, Ill. and Oakland, Calif.

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"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.

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