It is safe to say that you would be stressed if you were trying to make ends meet and only made $7.25 per hour.  Unfortunately, this stress may lead to health problems, specifically hypertension.  Researchers at U.C. Davis combed through data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and gathered information about wages and hypertension.  

The result of their research is that workers with the lowest wages have a higher risk of hypertension.  This relationship was particularly strong in females and among individuals between the ages of 25 and 44, not the typical age for hypertension concerns.

U.C. Davis researchers used data from 5,651 households and examined wages and hypertension reports of working adults between the ages of 25 and 65 over three time periods: 1999 – 2001, 2001 – 2003, and 2003 – 2005.  If an individual had hypertension during the first year of any of these time periods, his data was not used in the final sample.

Low wages were related to an increased report of hypertension and increasing wages was tied to lower hypertension reports.  For example, doubling wages was tied to a 16 percent decrease in the risk of a hypertension diagnosis.  

According to J. Paul Leigh, senior author of the study and a professor of public health sciences at U.C. Davis, “That means that if there were 110 million persons employed in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 65 per year during the entire timeframe of the study -- from 1999 until 2005 -- then a 10 percent increase in everyone's wages would have resulted in 132,000 fewer cases of hypertension each year.”

Leigh recommends that additional research be carried out to better understand the link between low wages and hypertension. 

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