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February 27, 2013
High blood pressure, low wages are linked in new CDC research

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say low wages are a risk factor for hypertension (high blood pressure). The study was described in the European Journal of Public Health.

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According to the CDC, low socio-economic status has in the past been linked to high blood pressure, although the reasons are unclear. The new study is the first to look at wages, a large component of socio-economic status.

In its science blog, National Institute of Health researchers explained, “Wages are an indicator of job quality and may be linked to feelings of self-worth. Low wages can also create financial stress for families that find themselves short of funds to pay for rent, electricity, heat, and gas for their cars.”

Reducing hypertension could have a significant impact on the health of Americans as well as associated costs. According to the CDC, high blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for nearly 350,000 Americans in 2008.

While hypertension is often associated with older males, the researchers said it was “somewhat surprising” to see strong correlations between hypertension and women and younger workers.

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