Bottom Line: Whether a significant change in income is associated with risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) was the focus of this observational study. Previous research has indicated that having a higher income is associated with lower risk of CVD; however, there is limited evidence on the association between changes in income and CVD. Using data from the ongoing Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, this analysis included nearly 9,000 participants from four areas of the United States (Jackson, Mississippi; Washington County, Maryland; suburbs of Minneapolis; and Forsyth County, North Carolina) who were categorized based on changes in their reported income. A drop in income of 50% or more was associated with higher risk of CVD (including heart attack, fatal coronary heart disease, heart failure or stroke) during an average follow-up of 17 years, while a 50% or more increase in income was associated with lower risk of CVD. A limitation of the study is the possibility that participants who developed health issues may have been more likely to experience a decrease in income.
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Authors: Scott D. Solomon, M.D., Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and coauthors.
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