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Rod Brouhard, EMT  P

Study Suggests Getting Fired = More Risk of Heart Attack. Why?

By November 20, 2012

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A study published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine found a relationship between job loss and heart attacks. The authors suggest that losing one's job increases risk for a heart attack -- at least in the first year after getting fired, quitting or getting laid off.

As I read the AP story on this study, I found myself wondering if unemployment actually leads to heart attacks or if someone who is sick already is more likely to lose his or her job.

Heart attacks don't happen in a vacuum. We may think of them as sudden, but in actuality heart attacks come after the development of heart disease. Even if the patient isn't aware that he or she had some sort of heart disease before a cardiac event, it was there.

Heart disease causes other things, such as shortness of breath and fatigue, which could lead to more sick days and decreased productivity. Feeling crappy could even lead to irritability, turning one into the very person everyone wants to see fired.

I'm not suggesting there isn't some sort of causal link between getting the axe and killing off a bit of heart muscle, but I think it might be a little more complicated than going from "you're fired" straight to CPR.

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