Sudden drops in personal income for young adults have been linked to increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure compared to people with less variation, according to a study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.
The researchers, in the study that began in in 1990, measured income drop as a decrease of 25 percent or more and looked at cardiovascular events among participants that led to death or illness between 2005 and 2015.
The researchers found that the biggest fluctuations in personal income were significantly associated with nearly double the risk of death and more than double the risk for cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes, heart failure or death during the following 10 years compared to a similar group of people with less fluctuation in personal income.
According to the study, income fluctuations were more prevalent among black people and women.
“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, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida said in a press release.
The study focused on people aged between 23 and 35, living in Birmingham, Ala., Minneapolis, Minn., Chicago, Ill. and Oakland, Calif.
Overall, about one in four deaths in the United States results from heart disease. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking all contribute to the condition.
“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.