Job Loss as a Heart Attack Risk Factor

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New study in the US discovers that unemployment and loss of a job can result in a higher risk of heart attack (acute myocardial infarction, AMI). According to the researchers, smokers and people who lost their job multiple times are equally threatened by heart attack.

The research by Mattew E. Dupre was published in the first online issue of JAMA’s Archives of Internal Medicine in November 2012 and included older adults. An increasing number of adults are suffering the effects of stress caused by unemployment. But there isn’t evidence hard enough to prove the connection between multiple job loss and the heart attack (AMI).

Dupre and his colleagues looked at different aspects of unemployment and the risks of AMI in the national Health and Retirement Study among 13,451 men and women aged between 51 and 75. Participants were interviewed every two years from 1992 to 2010. Several aspects of past and present employment status were found to increase the risk for a cardiovascular event.

The average age of the group was 62, and during the years of observation 7,9 percent reported having a heart attack. At the beginning of the survey 14% were unemployed, 69,7% experienced at least one cumulative job losses, and 35,1% spent some time out of work.

According to statistically gathered results the risk of AMI was nearly 35 percent higher among the unemployed than employed. Also this risk was highest (27% higher) the first year of unemployment. The risk increased incrementally – one job loss led to 22 percent higher, more than four job losses to 63 percent higher, compared with people who had never lost their job. Furthermore, heart risks associated with repeated loss of job were on a par with that posed by smoking, Diabetes 2, or high blood pressure.

Researchers hope for a further detailed study on the connections between unemployment and risk for heart attack in order to identify future health surge objectives. This is important especially in the time of economic uncertainty around the world and with the predictions about an increased unemployment.

The effects of socioeconomic factors on health should be covered by some policies, perhaps by insurance companies or employers.

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