Income Volatility Linked to Cardiovascular Disease

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Income volatility and drops in income during formative earning years are associated with an increased risk for CVD and all-cause mortality.
Income volatility and drops in income during formative earning years are associated with an increased risk for CVD and all-cause mortality.

HealthDay News — Income volatility and drops in income during formative earning years are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality, according to a study published online Jan. 7 in Circulation.

Tali Elfassy, Ph.D., from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues examined correlations of income volatility from 1990 to 2005 with incident CVD and all-cause mortality in the subsequent 10 years among 3,937 black and white participants aged 23 to 35 years in 1990. The researchers used intraindividual standard deviation of the percent change in income across five assessments from 1990 to 2005 to define income volatility.

Between 2005 and 2015, the researchers observed 106 CVD events and 164 deaths (incidence rates of 2.76 and 3.66 per 1,000 person-years, respectively). Higher income volatility and more income drops (decrease of 25 percent or more from the previous visit) correlated with greater CVD risk (high versus low volatility, hazard ratio, 2.07; two or more versus zero income drops, hazard ratio, 2.54) and all-cause mortality (high versus low volatility, hazard ratio, 1.78; two or more versus zero income drops, hazard ratio, 1.92) after adjustment for sociodemographic, behavioral, and CVD risk factors.

"Given the current economic environment of increasing income instability, understanding how income volatility is associated with health has become increasingly important," the authors write. "Future studies focused on understanding mechanisms underlying the association between income volatility with CVD and mortality are warranted."

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