Money problems double women's risk of heart attacks
Women stressed out by money problems have an increased risk of suffering a heart attack, according to a new study at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco.
Researchers analyzed the Women's Health Study, a survey that documented participants over a nine-year period. They looked at 267 women with an average age of 56 who experienced a heart attack at some point during the study period. For comparison, they also looked at 281 women with similar risk factors, such as smoking, who did not have a heart attack.
When the survey started, participants answered questions about stressful life situations, such as injury or unemployment, during the previous five years. Three survey options were classified as "traumatic": a life-threatening illness, a serious assault, or the death of a child or spouse.
The results showed that women with financial woes doubled their risk of heart attack, and women making under $50,000 were at an increased risk for stressful events overall. A traumatic event increased heart attack risk by 65 percent, regardless of income.
Previous research has shown that women tend to have worse recovery from heart attacks than men. Heart disease is currently the number one cause of death in women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet it’s still unclear what factors contribute to heart attacks in women with no previous heart conditions. These new findings highlight the need for further gender-specific research on heart disease risk factors, particularly for women of lower socio-economic status.