‘Fluctuations’ in income may increase risk of heart disease — Study

Human heart (Photo Credit: Huffington Post)
Human heart

As Nigerians continue to demand an increase in the national minimum wage, a new study conducted outside its shores has revealed that fluctuations in wages may lead to heart diseases.

Such changes, according to the study could affect ”everything from mental health to diet, which could result in potentially serious health problems”.

According to the report published on MedicalNewsToday, it is often expected that a person’s income will constantly rise until they reach retirement age.

However, this is not always the case, it adds.

In fact, incomes have become so unpredictable that their volatility has reached an all-time high since 1980, it said.

According to the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, which started in 1990, the effect of personal income in one’s life cannot be overlooked.


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The study noted that most people go into depression as a result of income ‘fluctuations’.

Research Details

The four cities where the study was carried out are: Minneapolis, MN, Chicago, IL, Oakland, CA, and Birmingham, AL.

Each participant was aged 23–35 years when the researchers first examined them.

The researchers behind the new study analysed data from the CARDIA study to see whether there was a link between income fluctuations and risk of cardiovascular events as well as death.

They first studied income levels taken from five assessments in 1990–2005.

They defined income volatility as a percentage change from one income figure to the next.

They also looked at income drop, or an income decrease of 25 per cent or more from the previous assessment figure.


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Lead study author Tali Elfassy, at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, says that income volatility “presents a growing public health threat, especially when federal programs, which are meant to absorb unpredictable income changes, are undergoing continuous changes, and mostly cuts”.

Ms Elfassy said it is not clear what exactly prompts income volatility to result in an elevated risk of cardiovascular problems, death, or both.

”It is not clear what exactly prompts income volatility to result in an elevated risk of cardiovascular problems, death, or both.

”It could be that fluctuations in a person’s income result in unhealthful behaviors, such as excessive alcohol consumption, a lack of exercise, stress, and high blood pressure.

”All of these things are linked to lifespan and cardiovascular health.”

The researchers hope that other scientists will carry out further research to understand the cause of this newly found association.

They list biologic and psychosocial pathways as being two potential reasons to explore.

They also see these findings as a way to more effectively screen people, especially those who are younger, for cardiovascular disease risk.


Statistics show that about 150,000 Nigerians die annually as a result of heart-related diseases and the number is expected to increase to 23 million by the year 2030 ”if adequate measures are not taken”.

WHO report published ahead of the 2017 World Health Day (WHD) said Nigerians were ranked the most depressed in Africa.

With about 30 million people suffering from depression in the African region, the report shows that Nigeria has 7.7 million persons suffering from depression, which stands at 3.9 per cent of the entire population.

Also, 4.8 million, that is 2.7 per cent of the population, suffer anxiety disorders.

The country is closely followed by Ethiopia with 4,5 million sufferers, that is 4.7 per cent of her population;

Democratic Republic of Congo with 2.8 million (3.8 per cent); South Africa with 2.4 million (4.6 per cent); and Tanzania with 2.1 million (4.1 per cent).

Seychelles has the lowest number of depressed persons with just 3,722 that is 4.0 per cent.

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease, according to WHO.

Depression can lead to suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in 15 – 29-year- olds globally.

This study is coming at a time when labour leaders are demanding for an increase in the national minimum wage.

The current minimum wage of N18,000 approved since 2010 became due for another review inline with the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act (amendment) 2011.

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