Changes in wealth linked to changes in cardiovascular health

Harvard Medical School

While most studies of economic risk factors for health look at income, understanding how wealth impacts well-being may be key to predicting and preventing sicknesses related to social status, according to a new study by Harvard Medical School researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and colleagues at the London School of Economics and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

  • By ELAINE ST. PETER | Brigham and Women’s

The retrospective study examines associations between wealth mobility and long-term cardiovascular health, finding that negative wealth mobility is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events, while positive wealth changes are associated with a decreased risk. The results are published in JAMA Cardiology.

“Low wealth is a risk factor that can dynamically change over a person’s life and can influence a person’s cardiovascular health status,” said Muthiah Vaduganathan, HMS instructor in medicine in Brigham and Women’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. “So, it’s a window of opportunity we have for an at-risk population. Buffering large changes in wealth should be an important focus for health policy moving ahead.”

The multidisciplinary study leveraged data from the RAND Health and Retirement Study

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