MEDICAL EXPERTS HAVE found that there has been a rise in the number of heart-related deaths in Ireland following the economic recession which began in 2008.
The study published in the Irish Medical Journal (IMJ) outlines that the post-2008 increase in cardiovascular-related deaths in Ireland “could be connected to sudden job loss and uncertainty caused by economic difficulties”.
It found that overall there was a 17.2% increase in cardiovascular-related deaths in men and women during the financial crisis years compared to the years before 2008.
The researchers, from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, found that there was a 20% rise in men suffering from cardiovascular deaths after 2008 “that was strongly significant statistically”, while a 15.5% increase was seen in female cardiovascular deaths.
The study stated:
Loss of income was theorised to invoke feelings of shame and mistrust that can trigger a stress-related psycho-neuro-endocrine reaction which puts vulnerable individuals at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Another recent study suggested that economic recessions may lead to an increase in heart-related deaths of specific occupations; namely managerial roles and professional workers.
There were 24,839 cardiovascular-related deaths in Ireland between the years of 2001 and 2012, according to the Central Statistics Office.
The researchers compared heart-related deaths before and after the year 2008. They found that while there was a decline in 2001 and 2012, the death figures jumped again after 2008.
In similar studies, the trend of stroke deaths in England and California were noted to have increased after 2008.
“Counteracting the effects of economic recession, for instance, facilitation of re-employment, may help prevent a sizable portion of such mortalities,” the researchers suggested.
In conclusion, the researchers noted that further research should specifically look into the cardiovascular mortality amongst different age groups, different professional roles and different regions in Ireland.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study to specifically evaluate the effect of the economic crisis on cardiovascular mortality rates in Ireland,” the researchers stated.