Living near foreclosed properties raises blood pressure risk

The housing crisis took a toll on a lot of people. Now a study from the American Heart Association (AHA) is the first to directly link the housing situation in a neighborhood to heart health, finding that neighbors of foreclosed homes have a higher systolic blood pressure than those who don't live in a neighborhood with foreclosures.

AHA researchers performed a data analysis of 1,740 participants living in Framingham, Massachusetts from 1987 to 2008. On average, every foreclosed property within 100 meters of a participant’s home increased their systolic blood pressure by 1.71mm Hg. This link was found only among people who owned real estate. Foreclosed houses farther than 100 meters away seemed to have no effect.

Researchers think people who see homes around them foreclose begin to worry that their property value and the neighborhood's safety will decline. Stress is a known factor for increasing blood pressure.

Since the neighborhoods in the study were mostly white, middle class, and suburban, the researchers note these findings cannot be applied to all neighborhoods. More research, they said, is needed for people living in urban and rural environments.

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