Report suggests a career cut short by redundancy leads to a heightened risk of strokes and heart attacks
Late-career job loss is a major cause of stroke and heart attack - similar to the risks posed by hypertension, smoking and unhealthy lifestyle - a US survey has found.
Scientists from Yale University School of Medicine have discovered that people between the age of 61-71 who had lost their jobs were twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than other people from the same age group.
The research, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, showed the effect a career cut short had on a person's health far exceeded the economic concerns of suffering job loss.
Commenting on the findings, Joe Korner, director of communications at the Stroke Association, said: "We know what the major risk factors for stroke are - such as high blood pressure, smoking, not taking exercise and eating unhealthily. It appears from this research that being made redundant in your 50s may be another one."
He explained: "When people who have had a stroke do try to return to work, they are faced with major problems.
"A quarter of all strokes occur in people under 65 and these are often misdiagnosed by health professionals and the general public. Even when a stroke is diagnosed and treated, the provision of rehabilitation services is scarce and often unsuitable for helping people to return to the workplace."
The researchers studied the health of 4,301 working people aged 51-61 between 1992 and 2002.
Analysing the 582 people from this group who had been forced out of their jobs during this 10-year period, they found that 23 of them had suffered heart attacks and 13 had suffered strokes - showing the risk of having a heart attack or stroke after involuntary job loss is 2.5% and 2.4% respectively.
This is twice the rate of those who were not forced out of a job, indicating imposed job loss is one of the major contributing factors when suffering heart attack or stroke.
Every year, more than 130,000 people in England and Wales suffer a stroke and there are around 106,000 deaths from coronary heart disease in the UK.
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