New research indicates low wages are a risk factor for hypertension among all working people.
"Hypertension is often associated with older males so it was somewhat surprising when the research revealed strong correlations between hypertension and women and hypertension and younger workers between the ages of 25 to 44," says a recent science blog posting from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. "We found that doubling the inflation-adjusted wage was associated with a 16 percent decrease in a hypertension diagnosis over the course of the study, 1999-2005."
The report was partially funded by NIOSH and researched by authorities at the University of California Davis School of Medicine and Old Dominion University. The results were reported in the European Journal of Public Health.
Based on the research, "if there were 110 million people employed in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 65 each year during the six years of the study, then a 5 percent increase in everyone's inflation-adjusted wages would have resulted in 66,000 fewer cases of hypertension each year," the report says. "Doubling the wages of younger workers was associated with a 25 to 35 percent decrease in the risk of a hypertension diagnosis, and doubling the wages of women was associated with a 30 to 35 percent decrease in the risk of a hypertension diagnosis."
The researchers do not speculate on the reasons for the apparent connection between low wages and hypertension. However, they note that wages are an indicator of job quality and may be linked to feelings of self worth. Also, low wages can create financial stress for families.
The study is described as the first to examine wages as a risk factor for hypertension. It is based on records of 5,651 employed participants included in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a database that includes information on employment, income and hypertension status.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
March 18, 2013
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