Finances can have a major impact on your health. Learn how money stress and your heart health are connected – before it’s too late.
When thinking about ways to improve heart health, we don’t often think about finances – but it turns out they’re connected. Millions of Americans have been dealing with financial issues for years – even before the pandemic.
Moreover, financial stress can predispose a person to heart disease much like high cholesterol and hypertension. Stress releases hormones and chemicals that can tense up and narrow your arteries.
According to Ameen Person, M.D., a cardiologist based in Atlanta, stress can have negative effects on the circulatory system.
“Your heart is trying to pump against the elevated pressure, which can cause it to strain as it’s being required to work harder,” Person explains. “Over months to years, it can start to weaken and not function as well.”
Financial Stress and Race
According to the Jackson Heart Study, heart disease is more prevalent in African Americans. Financial stress is especially damaging to those who are Black.
Furthermore, black men make less than white men – 98 cents for every dollar white men make, to be specific. That translates to a $1,500 disparity in the case of a $74,500 annual salary for the same job and qualifications – and more than $100,000 over a 40-year career span.
Moreover, other systemic factors are also at play, such as employment discrimination, wealth inequality, and higher rates of job insecurity. This constant worry about money and finances can put a strain in anyone’s heart.
While money may not necessarily buy you happiness, financial insecurity is one of the three major causes of depression among Black men. According to an 18-year study from the University of Michigan, depression increases the risk of heart disease in Black adults over 50 by nearly 30% more than white adults in the same age group.
How to Manage
Derek M. Griffith, Ph.D., the director of the Center for Research on Men’s Health at Vanderbilt University, explains the importance of taking care of your stress and health:
“Living in our society is stressful. Being a Black man in our society is particularly stressful. So if you know that just being in the body that you are in is going to be stressful, then you need to have a strategy for how to manage and how to do things to keep yourself healthy.”
The key is finding ways to cope with the stress on your heart and alleviate financial pressure. Consider meditation techniques as well as cardiovascular exercise to both improve your heart health and alleviate your stress.
When it comes to dealing with financial stress, find out about nonprofit organizations that provide free personal finance lessons like the Free Group. Furthermore, when buying certain medications, it may be cheaper if you buy them with cash instead of through insurance.
Finally, you can take heart supplements like L-arginine Plus to give your heart health an extra boost. Try it along with exercise and relaxation techniques if you want to promote your circulation and overall health.