Financial stresses take a heavy toll on a woman's heart


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It's well-known that stress and heart attacks are linked, but it's not clear whether any particular kind of stress carries a greater risk for heart health. Now, new research suggests that for women, money problems may be at the top of the list.

Using data from the Women's Health Study, a long-term survey that followed participants for an average of nine years, the researchers analyzed the stressful experiences of 267 women, whose average age was 56, who had suffered a heart attack sometime over the study period. For comparison, they also examined 281 women with similar risk factors, like age and smoking habits, who did not experience heart attack. At the beginning of the survey, the women had provided information about stressful life events — such as incurring an injury, losing a job or discovering a spouse was unfaithful — that had taken place within the past five years. Of the items on the survey, three were classified as "traumatic": a life-threatening illness, a serious assault or the death of a child or spouse.

It turned out that financial problems doubled women's risk of having a heart attack, and that women making less than $50,000 per year were especially susceptible to the effects of stressful events across the board. Experiencing a traumatic life event also increased the risk of heart attack by 65 percent, regardless of women's income, the study found.

Comment: Interesting that inequality can create such biological and sociological chaos. Our health is intimately connected to the health of our society. Check out:

The researchers used the HANDY model to analyze three different social scenarios: an egalitarian society with no elite class; an equitable society with workers and non-workers (students, retirees, disabled persons); and an unequal society with a robust class of elites.

The egalitarian and equitable societies could produce a sustainable civilization and avoid collapse, even with a high ratio of non-workers. Social collapse was more likely after people overreached and depleted natural resources. Importantly, even without any social stratification, collapse could occur if a society exhausted its natural resources.

In the unequal society, however, collapse was almost unavoidable - and these were the HANDY scenarios that mirrored our current globalized society.

NASA funded scientists show that society is doomed because catastrophic socio-economic collapse is inevitable