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Study: Heart Attack Risk Increases With Unemployment

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File photo of a line of unemployed people waiting for a job fair. (credit: Getty Images)

File photo of a line of unemployed people waiting for a job fair. (credit: Getty Images)

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DURHAM, N.C. (CBS Charlotte) – With the nation’s unemployment rate continuing to hover close to 10 percent, new research shows that those people who’ve recently been let go from their jobs may face a significantly higher risk of suffering a heart attack.

Though it is still too early to define a concrete link between unemployment and increased potential for heart problems, researchers have found that increased stress and a worsening lifestyle following a job dismissal are giving way to an increased probability of a heart attack. The study, conducted by the Duke Clinical Research Institute, found that the risk of a heart attack among those people who just lost their jobs climbed to as high as 35 percent.

The data from the study came from interviews from 13,451 adults during a 12-year period, generally asking about their health and employment status. According to Reuters, the participants were 55 years old or older from the beginning of the interview process with roughly two-thirds of the participants being overweight or obese. During the course of the 12-year period, about 8 percent of the participants, totaling more than 1,000 people, suffered heart attacks.

“Those without a job may be unable to control their high blood pressure or to manage their diabetes (with their usual medication), or rates of smoking may be exacerbated,” Matthew Dupre, lead researcher for the Duke Clinical Research Institute, told Reuters Health.

Dupre added later: “We weren’t surprised to find the association, but we were surprised to find that the effects were so large, on par with classic risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes. The associations are strong, and they remain despite accounting for a whole host of possible explanations.”

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