Data from the Center For Retirement Research shows an alarming trend in wealth accumulation and retirement preparedness among Americans. The chart, which contains data going back to 1983, shows a stable pattern of wealth accumulation through the most recent survey in 2010. In 2010, accumulation of wealth dropped among most age groups due to the severe recession and unemployment crisis. The CRR suggests that even if the ratio of wealth to income returns to its historical norm, the fact that funding retirement is significantly more expensive than it used to be, means trouble for future retirees. In short, the CRR warns prospective retirees that having the same amount of assets as your parents won’t be enough to handle the rising costs of retirement. More here.
Danish researchers have found four signs of aging that may signal poor heart health and a higher risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. The research followed 11,000 men and women over the age of 40 for 35 years and discovered that those who had a receding hairline at the temples, baldness at the crown of their head, earlobe crease, or fatty deposits around their eyelid were 57 percent more likely to have a heart attack. Fatty deposits around the eyelid were the strongest predictor of heart trouble. Anne Tybjaerg-Hansen, MD, of the University of Copenhagen, said looking old for your age is a marker of poor health. Individuals in their 70s were at highest risk. Participants over the age of 70 who exhibited three of the four signs of aging had a 40 percent increased risk of heart disease over the next 10 years. More here.
A study of 540 people who suffered a stroke found that heavy drinkers were more likely to have theirs earlier in life than participants who weren’t heavy drinkers. According to the research, published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, people who drank three or more drinks per day experienced a stroke at an average of 60, which is 14 years earlier than their non-heavy drinking counterparts. The study is one of two recently released that highlights the negative effects of alcohol on the brain. Another study, conducted at the Northern California Institute for Research and Education in San Francisco, found that an increase in drinking later in life was linked to memory problems and trouble remembering clearly. The research followed 1,300 women and discovered nondrinkers who began drinking after the age of 65 had a 200 percent heightened risk of diminished mental abilities. More here and here.
A recent study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, finds that working too many hours can raise the risk of developing coronary heart disease. People who worked long hours were found to have an approximately 40 percent higher risk of heart trouble compared to coworkers who worked fewer hours. The research, which looked at 12 studies totaling 22,000 people, notes that long working hours have been previously linked with a number of conditions and habits which contribute to heart disease, such as elevated blood pressure, anxiety, depression, type 2 diabetes, unhealthy diet, smoking, and lower physical activity. Longer working hours are also associated with stress and sleep deprivation, which have been shown to increase cardiovascular risk. Coronary heart disease is currently the leading cause of death and is projected to remain so for the next several decades. More here and here.
According to a recent survey of 52,000 people conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three Americans was in a family experiencing financial struggles due to medical expenses. One in five people were in a family having trouble paying medical bills and one in 10 was in a family that had medical bills they were unable to pay at all. The survey was the most comprehensive study conducted by the CDC on the issue and may be the largest of its kind. But though the results portray a large portion of the nation struggling with medical bills, experts warn that the statistics may be skewed by the fact that many Americans have been cutting back on health and medical spending. Among people over the age of 65, low-income Americans were more than three times as likely to be in a family that had problems paying for medical care over the past year. More here.
The ability to predict and prevent a heart attack before it happens could save countless lives. As it is, 50 percent of men and 64 percent of women who die of a heart attack had no previous symptoms of heart disease. Now, a new blood test, gives doctors hope that one day they’ll be able to detect heart trouble before an attack. The test looks for endothelial cells in the blood. Endothelial cells normally line the insides of blood vessels but they start to slough off into the blood stream a few days or weeks before a heart attack. The blood test hopes to measure the level of cells in the blood stream as a way of predicting heart trouble before it’s too late. More here.