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Losing Jobs Linked to Heart Attack Risk

Results are in on the latest large cohort study for Health and Retirement that suggests that unemployment is linked to acute myocardial infarction.

More than 13,000 participated in the Health and Retirement study that showed the hazard ratio for acute MI in those looking for work unsuccessfully was 1.35 (95% CI 1.10 to 1.66) relative to the stabley employed. Adjustments were made for sociodemographic factors, smoking, body mass index, insurance status, alcohol consumption and other certain comorbidities, reported Matthew Dupre, PhD, of Duke University.

 
The risk difference between participants with multiple job losses during the nearly 20-year follow-up period and those with four or more periods of involuntary unemployment showed the hazard ratio for an MI was 1.63 (95% CI 1.29 to 2.07) compared to those with no job losses.

 
“Knowledge about employment status, number of job losses, and the amount of time unemployed may help to identify individuals at elevated risk for acute MI,” Dupre wrote in Archives of Internal Medicine online. “Additional studies are needed to assess how such information can be used to target and aggressively treat vulnerable segments of the population.”

 
The Health and Retirement study started in 1992 with an enrollment of 9,824 participants ages 51 to 61. More participants were added later to replace those that withdrew or were at loss to follow-up. Individuals were interviewed every two years.

 
Chronic Unemployment did not appear to be a factor, rather only unemployment lasting a year or less.

 
William T. Gallo, PhD, of City University of New York in New York City, wrote in commentary, “The report by Dupre et a. should mark the end of an era in which the outcomes studies of unemployment have been pursued. Plenty of compelling evidence exists to move on.”

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