SAN ANTONIO -- You may have heard the joke that seeing your paycheck makes your heart hurt, but a new health study is proving it could be true. The study was published in the European Journal of Public Health.
Researchers say low wages could put you at risk for high blood pressure and increase your chances of developing heart disease and stroke. The link could be due to stress and simple day-to-day hassles.
The study looked at health data for 5,000 people aged 25 to 65, whose information was collected every two years from 1999 to 2005 and who didn't have high blood pressure at the beginning of the study. The results: Workers with the lowest wages were more likely to have hypertension than workers with the highest wages. The correlation was particularly strong among women and people between the ages of 25 to 44, a finding the researchers didn't expect but say makes sense, since those groups are likely to be working lower-wage jobs.
But just how low is low? Researchers started noticing hypertension in those making $17 an hour or less. Adjusting for inflation, that's about $23 an hour--or about $47,000 a year for full-time salaried folks. Future research could determine if blood pressure increases as salaries decrease.
So, how does San Antonio measure up? According to the United States Census Bureau, San Antonio's median household income sits below that mark at $43,961.