If you’re stuck in a low-paying job, this might literally make your blood boil over since you could be putting yourself at higher risk of getting hypertension. Research indicates that low wage earners – particularly younger people – are at greater risk of developing the condition. Researchers at the University of California, Davis Medical School, discovered that there was strong evidence to suggest that low wages may increase levels of hypertension in adults aged 25 to 44.
The study was carried out to look at wages as a standalone factor behind hypertension. It’s the first time research has set out to look at this particular link, although previous research has been carried out to look at the links between occupation type and job strain in relation to BP.
Lowest wage earners most at risk of developing hypertension
The research team followed 17,300 non-obese, healthy individuals who were employed and aged between 25 and 65. Data was collected for the years 1999 to 2005 and researchers looked at differences in age and gender as part of the study.
Participants were asked to measure their blood pressure. Wages of those studied ranged from $2.38 per hour to $77. The researchers found that doubling wages resulted in a 16 percent decrease in risk of hypertension. Individuals who earned twice as much money were 30 percent less likely to develop hypertension and this was even more marked in women for whom doubling income reduced their risk by 35 percent.
The report showed a startling link between low wages and hypertension, with women and younger employees at the lowest end of the pay scales most at risk. The study was funded by the National Institute of Occupational Health and was published in the European Journal of Public Health.
What are the implications?
Professor J Paul Leigh, co-author of the report stated that raising minimum wages overall could have a significant impact on public health. He also urged for better screening of younger employees, especially women on the lowest wages. Professor Leigh also called for further research using different national data sets to look at the relationship between what people earn and their risk of developing hypertension. If the outcomes of this research are the same, we could have identified a clear way to reduce the massive costs resulting from the health crisis of hypertension.
Don’t work overtime if you want to avoid hypertension
As well as seeking out higher earning jobs, you may want to avoid working overtime if you want to avoid hypertension. A Japanese study looked at employees who worked overtime and found that those who worked an average of 60 hours or more per month in overtime had higher 24 hour blood pressure levels.
No matter how much you earn or whether you work overtime, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting high blood pressure. These include cutting back on salt, incorporating exercise into your day and eating a healthy diet high in fruit and vegetables.
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