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Good Housekeeping
Charlene J. Owen, Staff Writer
November 28, 2012

Unemployment May Increase Your Risk of Getting a Heart Attack

So you find yourself suddenly jobless--keep calm and carry on, or else you may be facing problems far greater than where to get your next paycheck. By Charlene J. Owen

  Nobody likes getting laid off. The uncertainty of unemployment may cause you immense stress, but a recent study cautions that the pressure you’re subjected to may put your heart in danger.

NBCNews.com reports that job loss increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers from Duke University in North Carolina studied the 18-year career history of 13,451 adults from 51 to 64 years old. Initially, 14 percent of them were unemployed, but for the duration of the study, 69.7 percent lost one or more jobs. Of the total number of participants, 1,061 suffered heart attacks.

Researchers found that losing one job raised the risk of heart disease by 35 percent, while losing four increased it to 63 percent. Those who suddenly find themselves unemployed have greater chances of suffering from heart attacks within the following year of being laid off. 

"There are likely multiple mechanisms which link significant socioeconomic stress, including becoming unemployed, to an increased risk of cardiovascular events. These include sustained activation of the part of the nervous system involved with stress and stress-related hormones, decrements in heart healthy behaviors, avoiding preventive health visits and measures, and not seeking prompt medical attention when there are early warning signs,” says Dr. Eliot Corday, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science at the University of California, Los Angeles and co-director of the UCLA preventive cardiology program.

The key is to zone in on the solution instead of the problem. Yes, you’ve lost your job, but panicking won't bring  your job back. Try to calm down, keep a clear head, and look for ways which can help tide you over financially until you find new employment.  Keep your chin up, be kind to your heart, and you’ll get back to your feet in no time.

(Photo by Victor1558 via Flickr Creative Commons)


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Charlene J. Owen
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