Researchers say that being fired from a job can increase a patient’s heart attack risk as much as hypertension, diabetes or smoking.
The new study was conducted by Dr Matthew Dupre of Duke University and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The research was based on data from the Health & Retirement Study, which included 13,451 people between the ages of 51 to 75 years old who were interviewed every 2 years over an 18-year period regarding their employment history, health and socioeconomic status.
Researchers found that MI risk was higher among the unemployed and the risk increased with each job loss.
"It seems that the transition itself is the most dangerous," Dupre told Heartwire. "But many other factors may come into play, such as changes in diet and sleep, increased smoking, and loss of control of other risk factors, such as diabetes and hypertension, as people are thrown into a chaotic state."
There were 1061 AMI events, or 7.9% occurred during the follow-up period. About14% of the participants were unemployed at baseline, 70% had one or more job losses, and 35% spent time unemployed, according to heartwire.
"We think the MI risk is probably caused by the stress of becoming unemployed," Dupre added. "We would therefore urge physicians to be more vigilant in terms of health awareness in patients who have recently become unemployed."