Economic downturn takes a toll on our health

The economy, the economy, the economy — Americans seem able to think of little else. And it's taking a toll. • "Times of economic stress lead to increased rates of depression," says Dr. Christopher Palmer, director of continuing education at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. "It exacerbates illness in people who have been chronically depressed. But it also causes new cases of depression. Just the fear of losing one's job can put people over the edge." • Here is a statistical look at how Americans are faring.

Los Angeles Times


33 The percent of Americans who report losing sleep over the economy.

26 percent say they are sleeping less than six hours a night, short of the optimum seven to eight hours. Nearly 40 percent said they had driven while drowsy at least once in the previous month.

. Among people who sleep less than six hours a night, there is a 66 percent increase for hypertension, and they are more than five times likelier to develop prediabetes.

3Number of times more likely you are to catch a cold if you sleep less than seven hours a night.


70 The percent of Americans that say debt is upsetting their home lives.

. The odds of violent behavior are nearly six times higher for people who lose jobs.

. Women are more likely to get distressed when husbands lose jobs than vice versa.

. Workplace stress can contribute to domestic violence.

40 The percent of Americans admitting they had lied to their spouses about spending in a survey of 1,001 people.


. Depression, anxiety, chronic life stress and high blood pressure all raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.

. Job pressure and excessive work hours led to increased smoking — a prime risk factor for heart disease —among men in an Australian study.

50 The percent increase in risk of heart disease and death among people with depression and anxiety in a Scottish study.

. Almost double the risk of heart attack or death was found in coronary-artery-disease patients with the highest levels of anxiety.


80 Percent of Americans who said in September the economy is a significant source of stress; 49 percent said they felt nervous or anxious; 48 percent reported feeling depressed or sad.

. Calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network — 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) — increased more than 20 percent from January 2008 to January 2009. Part of the rise can be linked to increased awareness of the hotline, but the economy has been a factor.

1 in 3 Number of people going through foreclosure who are clinically depressed.

Economic downturn takes a toll on our health 04/01/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 5:36pm]

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