New research offers valuable insight into the hidden sources of high blood pressure. This one has found that adults who make lower wages have a higher risk of hypertension than those who receive more hefty paychecks.
About one in three Americans has high blood pressure, which is a huge risk factor for stroke and heart disease. There is a link between being lower on the “socioeconomic” ladder and having high blood pressure. But why this is the case was never fully understood. So, this team of researchers honed in on wages.
As it turns out, what you are paid does have a relationship with your circulatory health. The study used data from more than 5,600 household heads and their spouses in time periods stretching from 1999 to 2005. It included working adults between 25 and 65. They calculated wages as annual income from all sources divided by work hours. Hourly rates ranged from $2.38 to $77.00 in 1999.
Researchers discovered that doubling the wage was associated with a 16.0% drop in risk for high blood pressure. In two years, a doubled wage reduces hypertension risk by 1.2%. If you extract that to people, you find that for 110 million people employed in the U.S. from 1999 to 2005, a 10.0% increase in each person’s wage would have led to 132,000 fewer cases of hypertension each year.
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When researchers broke it down further, they found that wage-related hypertension was strongest for those aged 25 to 44, as well as for women in general. Doubling the wages of younger workers was linked with up to a 30.0% reduced risk of hypertension and for women, a 35.0% reduced risk.
What’s most intriguing about this, since our wages depend on the decisions of others, is how influenced your blood pressure can be. So much in one’s lifestyle can start pushing your blood pressure higher. It is important to do what you can to keep yourself eating healthy, exercising regularly, and taking action against sources of stress, because high blood pressure is called the “silent killer” for a reason.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
A Link Between Hypertension and How Much You Earn Discovered
Leigh, J., et al., “Are Low Wages Risk Factors for Hypertension,” Eur J Public Health 2012; 22 (6): 854–9.