Recession’s health toll
Many Americans lost their jobs, homes, and retirement savings during the Great Recession, and new research indicates such economic stress can make people physically sick. Between 2007 and 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate doubled from 5 percent to 10 percent and home prices plummeted about 30 percent, on average. Researchers analyzed a long-running heart study to determine how the country’s economic woes affected American health. After examining data collected on 4,600 middle-aged and older adults between 2000 and 2012, they found the recession triggered dramatic increases in blood pressure and blood sugar levels, reports The Washington Post. The study also shows that many people stopped taking their medication during the recession—likely because they could no longer afford it or had lost their insurance. Study author Teresa Seeman warns that economic stress, political volatility, and international conflict all may contribute to a range of chronic health issues. “It will be interesting to see what the effect will be of all the upheaval we’re going through now,” Seeman says.