"While income volatility and other longitudinal conceptualizations of income have gained recognition in medical research on the social determinants of health, in many epidemiologic studies, income is measured at a single point in time in the life course rather than repeatedly over time", the study authors wrote. The participants who took part in the research were aged 23-35 years old in 1990 when the study initially kickstarted. "Income volatility is very common, and it's something that needs to be considered in terms of cardiovascular disease risk since we are finding it is an independent contributor", Elfassy said. They also have higher risk for early death compared with those with more stable income.
The study was not able to determine the cause of the association between income volatility and health because it was observational and not created to prove cause and effect.
High income volatility (defined by an individual's standard deviation of change from 1990-2005) was associated with a higher risk of death (HR 1.78, 95% CI 1.03-3.09) and of cardiovascular disease (HR 2.07, 95% CI 1.10-3.90) than low volatility, reported Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, PhD, of the University of Miami, and colleagues in Circulation.
Unexpected dips in personal income for young adults have been linked to almost double the risk of death and greater than a 50 percent increase in risk for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure during the following 10 years when compared to people with less variation, according to a study published Monday in the journal Circulation.
The study noted while from young adulthood through midlife, most individuals experience at least some increases in income.
Is income volatility a public health issue?
Those who had the biggest fluctuations in personal income were significantly more at risk, scientists found. "While this study is observational in nature and certainly not an evaluation of such programs, our results do highlight that large negative changes in income may be detrimental to heart health and may contribute to premature death", said Tali Elfassy, an assistant professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Florida, Science Daily reports.
Patients with an unstable income "may subsequently be a high priority group for cardiovascular disease screening and interventions in a clinical setting", the researchers emphasized. You go into survival mode.
Elfassy said a number of criteria likely factor into the association.
This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging, the American Heart Association, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging.