Joblessness boosts heart attack risk: study

Durham, NC – Unemployment and multiple job losses may increase the risk of heart attack, concludes a new study from Duke University.

Using data from the longitudinal Health and Retirement Study, researchers analyzed risk among 13,451 participants 51-75 years old. From 1992 to 2010, 1,061 heart attacks occurred among that group. Fourteen percent of participants were unemployed at the beginning of the study; almost 70 percent reported one or more job losses and 35.1 percent had spent time unemployed, according to the study abstract.

People without a job had a higher chance of having a heart attack, and the risk increased gradually with one job loss to four or more job losses, the abstract stated.

Although heart attack risk was highest during the first year of unemployment, the risk decreased afterward.

Researchers noted that unemployment seemed to pose a risk similar to traditional factors such as smoking, diabetes and hypertension. They recommended more research in this area to identify possible interventions.

The study was published online in November in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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