Unemployment can pose detrimental effects on your bank account and your health. With the stress of job loss and no health insurance weighing down on many Americans, it comes to no surprise that increased health problems are taking roots as a result of unemployment. In a study of more than 13,000 people in the US, the results of the study indicated that heart-attack risk increased by a quarter in the first year after job losses.
An article appearing on USA Today reported that researchers at Duke looked at the different aspects of unemployment and the risks of heart attacks among 13,451 men and women, ages 51 to 75, who participated in the national Health and Retirement Study. Participants were interviewed every two years from 1992 to 2010 – a study spanning nearly 20 years.
But this is not to say that all forms of unemployment lead to an increased risk of heart attack. The study neglected to address whether or not unemployment was a result of participants being fired, laid off, or voluntarily leaving a job.
“There probably are differences in consequences of job loss when it’s voluntary or more or less expected and when it comes as a sudden shock,” said Sarah Burgard to FoxNews who is a University Michigan researcher who was not involved in the study.
Unemployed participants with counter-productive lifestyle factors like obesity, high blood pressure and lack of exercise were also at an increased risk for heart-attack compared to the socioeconomic impact of being unemployed alone.
Other findings presented by the study:
- Heart attack risks were about 35% higher among the unemployed than employed, and risks increased incrementally from one job loss (22% higher) to four or more job losses (63% higher), compared with those without a job loss in their lifetime.
- The risk of having a heart attack was highest the first year of unemployment.
- The harmful effects of unemployment were consistent for men and women, and major race/ethic groups.
While job seekers battle the market in search for work, diet, exercise and plenty of low-stress activities like Yoga and meditation that help to reduce anxiety will be vital in maintaining a healthy heart.