CHICAGO -- Unemployment hurts more than your wallet -- it may damage your heart. That's according to a study linking joblessness with heart attacks in older workers.
The increased odds weren't huge, although multiple job losses posed as big a threat as smoking, high blood pressure and other conditions bad for the heart.
The researchers analyzed data on more than 13,000 men and women aged 51 to 75 taking part in a health and retirement survey partly sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. Since 1992, participants have been interviewed every two years about their employment and health.
The analysis, which covers 1992-2010, appears in yesterday's Archives of Internal Medicine. There were 1,061 heart attacks during the study. Those with at least one job loss were 22 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who never lost a job. Those with at least four job losses had a 60 percent higher risk than those with none. Men and women faced equal risks.
The analysis has several limitations. The data show periods of unemployment but don't indicate the reason people were out of a job. -- AP