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Public health researchers find an association between fluctuating incomes and heart disease

According to a study published in Circulation, income volatility, a sudden and unpredictable change in income, has a strong association with cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality, proposing new clinical implications for individuals experiencing the disease. The study was co-authored by Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, Ph.D., Tali Elfassy, Ph.D., assistant professors of epidemiology, and Samuel Longworth Swift, a Ph.D. candidate in epidemiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. 

Researchers studied data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study, a study that collected income data from adults in Birmingham, Ala., Chicago, Minneapolis, and Oakland, Calif. since the early 1990s. The data included 3,937 black and white participants who were 23 to 35 years of age in 1990 and their patterns in income volatility from 1990 to 2005. To examine and understand the possible causes of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality occurrences, researchers studied medical records and death certificates that were registered during 2005 and 2015.

With the help of the fifteen-year data and information, researchers found that fluctuating incomes led to double the risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality, supporting that income volatility may be a public health threat.

“We found strong associations between income volatility, incident cardiovascular disease events, and all-cause deaths,” Swift said. “Future work should help identify pathways, whether biological or psychosocial, through which the association is operating."

Researchers received funding from the National Institute of Health and the American Heart Association to conduct this study.

Written by Amanda Torres
Posted on January 10, 2019