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Unemployment raises the risk of heart attack

Unemployment — even periods lasting less than a year — and repeated job loss may increase the risk of heart attack over age 50, a study found.

The research, conducted by scientists at Duke University, followed nearly 14,000 people ages 51 to 75 for nearly two decades during varying levels of unemployment.

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Heart attack risk was highest within the first year of unemployment. The study found a 22 percent increased risk of a heart attack after the first job loss. among those who experienced four or more job losses, there was a 63 percent increased risk of a heart attack.

The study suggests that financial health may also affect physical health, the researchers wrote.

BOTTOM LINE: Forced unemployment may increase heart attack risk in adults over age 50.

CAUTIONS: The study did not identify specific factors contributing to the link between job loss and heart attacks. It’s also unclear whether treatment of diabetes and high blood pressure may lower the risk for heart attack among the group.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Journal of the American Medical Association, Nov. 19

Positive attitudes help seniors overcome disability

Seniors possessing a positive attitude about their age may be more likely to recover from a disability compared with those harboring a negative outlook, according to research from the Yale School of Public Health.

The study looked at nearly 600 active seniors, mostly women, who lived in a Connecticut community. They filled out questionnaires on their health and how they viewed aging every 18 months for more than a decade.

Seniors who reported having a positive outlook about their age were 44 percent more likely to bounce back sooner from any form of disability — mild or severe — and engage in daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and walking than those with a negative outlook.

BOTTOM LINE: Seniors with a positive attitude about their age are more likely to recover from a disability compared with those with a negative outlook.

CAUTIONS: The study did not specify the disability that participants endured. Study participants were recruited from one community, so the findings may not be representative of a wider group.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Journal of the American Medical Association, Nov. 21

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