Thirty-nine year old Anurag Mehta suffered a heart attack six years ago. He had just started a new job but thinks the time he spent unemployed contributed to his health problems.
"I was told it was like a perfect storm that caused what happened. A lot of it was diet and lack of exercise and hereditary stuff, but when you combine that with stresses that result in the type of work environment you're in, I think that all of it combined in that event," he said.
A new study finds unemployment significantly increases a person's risk of having a heart attack. Researchers at Duke University looked at 13,000 people between the ages of 51 and 75. They found the risk was highest within the first year of losing a job.
"When one gets unemployed the risk that it creates is very similar to having the risk of high blood pressure or diabetes... It's that serious," said Dr. Ravi Dave, a Cardiologist with UCLA, Santa Monica.
Researchers also found a person's risk goes up with each additional job loss. The study didn't look at the reasons behind the increased risk, but stress likely plays a big part.
"As one loses their job a few things happen. First of all there is an increase in financial stress, loss of health coverage likely in these patients, chronic anxiety, social withdrawal from friends," Dr. Dave said.
More than 12 million Americans are looking for work. Anurag Mehta is a writer and film maker. He's thankful he's been steadily employed for a year now. "It helps not only with stress but it helps you get in a routine," he said. "A routine is important because then you can work in exercise, maintain a good diet, cooking the right foods."
He hopes his job will help keep both his finances and his heart in good
Bigad Shaban - CBS News
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