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A pay-rise could be good for your heart

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

People whose income increases by 50 per cent or more have a lower risk of heart disease, according to an international study, which also found that a pay drop of 50 per cent or more is associated with a higher risk of heart disease. An accompanying commentary suggests that major causes of income changes include divorce or death of a spouse, which may cause chronic stress and is suggested to cause heart disease. The study authors note that a limitation of this study is that people who develop health issues such as heart disease may also be more likely to have a decrease in income as a result.

Journal/conference: JAMA Cardiology

DOI: 10.1001/jamacardio.2019.3788

Organisation/s: Harvard Medical School, USA

Funder: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, and the US Department of Health and Human Services (contracts HHSN268201700001I, HHSN268201700002I, HHSN268201700003I, HHSN268201700005I, and HHSN268201700004I). Dr Chandra was supported by National Institutes of Health grant 5T32HL094301-08.

Media Release

From: JAMA

Large Income Change Associated With Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Longitudinal Associations Between Income Changes and Incident Cardiovascular Disease

Bottom Line: Whether a significant change in income is associated with risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) was the focus of this observational study. Previous research has indicated that having a higher income is associated with lower risk of CVD; however, there is limited evidence on the association between changes in income and CVD. Using data from the ongoing Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, this analysis included nearly 9,000 participants from four areas of the United States (Jackson, Mississippi; Washington County, Maryland; suburbs of Minneapolis; and Forsyth County, North Carolina) who were categorized based on changes in their reported income. A drop in income of 50% or more was associated with higher risk of CVD (including heart attack, fatal coronary heart disease, heart failure or stroke) during an average follow-up of 17 years, while a 50% or more increase in income was associated with lower risk of CVD. A limitation of the study is the possibility that participants who developed health issues may have been more likely to experience a decrease in income.


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