Your risk of heart disease is higher if you smoke, are overweight, don’t sleep well, eat an unhealthy diet, have a family history of heart disease, are older, have high blood pressure or cholesterol, or are a type 2 diabetic. But one risk factor that often isn’t discussed is how much money you make.
Research suggests that unstable income can be a contributing factor to heart disease. This is because fluctuating income could affect other factors, which can contribute to good or poor heart health. For example, if you don’t make enough money, you may be unable to pay for healthier food choices that often tend to be pricier.
The researchers of the study found this link between income and heart disease risk was also seen in younger adults, not just seniors who are generally at a higher risk for heart disease.
The researchers analyzed data from the CARDIA study to determine a link between income and heart disease risk along with death.
There were 106 cardiovascular events and 164 deaths.
Fluctuations in income were associated with a higher risk of death and heart disease within a decade of the income change. The higher the income fluctuation, the higher the risk of death and heart disease. Results were compared to people with minimal income fluctuations.
Although the study was observational, it does shed light on how income can impact heart health. This may be due to low-income participants having a higher risk of taking part in unhealthy heart habits.
This means there may be more smoking and alcohol use, an unhealthy diet, and low-income individuals may be less likely to exercise. This all contributes to other factors that hurt the heart including hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol.
Unfortunately, income is not typically something that can be controlled. But it’s important that regardless of your income, you still try to partake in heart-healthy practices to reduce your risk of a cardiovascular-related event.