The amount you make per hour could play a role in your heart health, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the University of California, Davis, found an association between earning low hourly wages and an increased hypertension risk, particularly among two groups of people: younger adults between 25 and 44, and women. Hypertension increases risk of deadly conditions like stroke and heart attack.
The findings, published in the European Journal of Public Health, were surprising since these two groups are "not typically associated with hypertension, which is more often linked with being older and male," study researcher J. Paul Leigh, a professor of public health sciences at the university, said in a statement. "Our outcome shows that women and younger employees working at the lowest pay scales should be screened regularly for hypertension as well."
The research was based on data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which included employment, wages (calculated by taking the yearly income and dividing it by hours worked) and health information from 5,651 households in the United States. The data used in the study was from 1999 to 2001, 2001 to 2003, and 2003 to 2005, from people between the ages of 25 and 65. Researchers didn't use data from people who had high blood pressure in the first year of each time period included in the study.
The researchers found that the lower the hourly wage, the higher the risk of hypertension was.
They also found that if the hourly wage were to be doubled, the high blood pressure risk would decrease by 16 percent. The effect was even more pronounced in younger people -- where it was linked with a 25 to 30 percent lower risk -- and women -- where it was linked with a 30 to 35 percent lower risk.
Of course, the study only shows a link between how much money a person makes and blood pressure levels. But researchers said that the findings shed light on another aspect of how socioeconomics play into health.
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