The Great Recession took a toll on public health, study finds

March 12, 2018

FINDINGS

The Great Recession, spanning 2008 to 2010, was associated with heightened cardiovascular risk factors, including increased blood pressure and glucose levels, according to a new UCLA-led study. The connections were especially pronounced among older homeowners and people still in the work force, two groups that may have been especially vulnerable to the stresses the Recession brought about.

BACKGROUND

Virtually all Americans were affected directly or indirectly by the Great Recession, the most significant economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s -- some lost jobs, others their houses or life savings. Previous studies have arrived at mixed evidence for the health impact of the recession, with some reporting negative health effects and others reporting benefits. But no study has looked at health measures at multiple time points leading up to the recession or used well-known biomarkers of overall health--blood pressure and glucose -- to study the question objectively.

METHOD

The team looked at data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) for the period from 2000 to 2012. Blood pressure and glucose date for the 4,600 participants, ages 45 to 84, were analyzed at the outset, at multiple times leading up to the Great Recession and one time immediately after the recession ended. The researchers calculated changes in blood pressure and glucose that would have been expected to occur naturally with age had the recession not occurred, and compared that information to the changes that were actually observed at the end of the recession. The two outcomes, which are particularly valuable since they change rapidly in response to stress, provide a more accurate snapshot of how the crisis may have affected public health.

The results suggest that not only did both blood pressure and glucose rise during the recession, but the changes were particularly pronounced in people still in the labor force (under 65) and older homeowners (over 65). The researchers point out that both groups might be especially vulnerable to psychological fallout of economic downturns, since they could be at risk of losing jobs and houses, respectively.

IMPACT

The results provide strong evidence that economic crises can have measurable effects on public health. Understanding these connections in greater detail may help healthcare providers and policy makers prepare better for this reality in the future. The team next plans to look at additional time points after the Great Recession, and take into account other markers of health, including inflammation and insulin resistance. They'll also try to determine whether there were any regional differences for the recession's effects on public health.

AUTHORS

Teresa Seeman, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is the study's first author. Dr. Arun Karlamangla, a geriatrician in the Division of Geriatrics in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is the senior author. Other authors are: Sharon Stein Merkin and Karol Watson, both of UCLA, Duncan Thomas of Duke University and Kari Moore of Drexel University.

JOURNAL

The study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
-end-
FUNDING

The research was funded by grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Center for Advancing Translational Studies.

University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

Related Blood Pressure Articles from Brightsurf:

Children who take steroids at increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, blood clots
Children who take oral steroids to treat asthma or autoimmune diseases have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood clots, according to Rutgers researchers.

High blood pressure treatment linked to less risk for drop in blood pressure upon standing
Treatment to lower blood pressure did not increase and may decrease the risk of extreme drops in blood pressure upon standing from a sitting position.

Changes in blood pressure control over 2 decades among US adults with high blood pressure
National survey data were used to examine how blood pressure control changed overall among U.S. adults with high blood pressure between 1999-2000 and 2017-2018 and by age, race, insurance type and access to health care.

Transient increase in blood pressure promotes some blood vessel growth
Blood vessels are the body's transportation system, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells and whisking away waste.

Effect of reducing blood pressure medications on blood pressure control in older adults
Whether the amount of blood pressure medications taken by older adults could be reduced safely and without a significant change in short-term blood pressure control was the objective of this randomized clinical trial that included 534 adults 80 and older.

Brain blood flow sensor discovery could aid treatments for high blood pressure & dementia
A study led by researchers at UCL has discovered the mechanism that allows the brain to monitor its own blood supply, a finding in rats which may help to find new treatments for human conditions including hypertension (high blood pressure) and dementia.

Here's something that will raise your blood pressure
The apelin receptor (APJ) has been presumed to play an important role in the contraction of blood vessels involved in blood pressure regulation.

New strategy for treating high blood pressure
The key to treating blood pressure might lie in people who are 'resistant' to developing high blood pressure even when they eat high salt diets, shows new research published today in Experimental Physiology.

Arm cuff blood pressure measurements may fall short for predicting heart disease risk in some people with resistant high blood pressure
A measurement of central blood pressure in people with difficult-to-treat high blood pressure could help reduce risk of heart disease better than traditional arm cuff readings for some patients, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions.

Heating pads may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure when lying down
In people with supine hypertension due to autonomic failure, a condition that increases blood pressure when lying down, overnight heat therapy significantly decreased systolic blood pressure compared to a placebo.

Read More: Blood Pressure News and Blood Pressure Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.