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The Great Recession Impacted The Health Of Americans: Study

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The Great Recession, which occurred between 2008 and 2010, is the most significant economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Health Effects Of The Great Recession

Researchers now reveal that this period of economic decline had a negative impact on the health of Americans.

Findings of their new study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed a link between the Great Recession and increased blood pressure and glucose levels particularly among older homeowners and employed individuals below 65 years old.

Effect On Blood Pressure And Glucose Levels

Study researcher Teresa Seeman, from University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues used data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis covering the period between the years 2000 and 2012 to analyze the changes in the blood pressure and glucose level of 4,600 adults between 45 and 84 years old, before, at the beginning, and at the end of the recession.

Seeman and colleagues calculated what would have been the natural changes in the blood pressure and glucose of the participants if the recession did not happen, and then compared the results with those recorded at the end of the recession.

The findings showed increase in blood pressure and glucose levels particularly in those who were taking diabetes or hypertension drugs at the start of the recession. This means that patients who are taking medicines are more vulnerable to the effects of economic stress.

The researchers also found that use of medication to control blood pressure and glucose dropped when the recession started.

Use of medications fell 17 percent among older adults on blood pressure drugs. There was also a significant drop in the intensity and use of medications among diabetic patients.

Most Vulnerable To The Effects Of Economic Crises

The researchers said that older homeowners who were more than 65 years old and adults who are still employed may be particularly at risk of the psychological effect of economic downturns because they are at risk of losing their homes, health insurance, job, savings, and investment.

The researchers said that the least affected were older adults who are less educated and adults who do not have their own homes since these individuals are more likely to depend on Social Security for their retirement instead of on stock market investments.

"Direct examination of homeownership confirms that older homeowners indeed had the largest increases in BP and glucose from pre- to post-GR. The smallest effects were seen for less educated and nonhomeowning older adults (i.e., those no longer in the labor force and without "investment" in the housing market)." the researchers wrote in their study.

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