Wealthy men at increased risk of high blood pressure - study

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Is your paycheck worth sacrificing your health? Photo credit: Getty.

Scientists found males earning bigger a wage leads to an increased risk of developing hypertension, which can lead to heart and circulatory diseases such as a heart attack or stroke.

The new study, which analysed the relationship between household income and blood pressure in Japanese employees, found men in the highest-earning category were almost twice as likely to develop the condition than those in the lowest.

"Men with higher incomes need to improve their lifestyles to prevent high blood pressure," said study author Dr Shingo Yanagiya of the Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine. 

"High blood pressure is a lifestyle-related disease. As a physician seeing these patients I wanted to know if risk varies with socioeconomic class, to help us focus our prevention efforts."

An analysis was done on the J-HOPE3 study, which evaluated 4314 people with daytime jobs and normal blood pressure when they enrolled in 2012. Workers were divided into four categories based on annual household income and over a period of two years, researchers examined the relationship between earnings and developing high blood pressure.

The results showed men in the two highest wage groups had a 50 percent higher risk of hypertension compared to the lowest income category. The data was consistent regardless of age, occupation, number of family members and whether the individual smoked.

In women, there was no significant link between blood pressure and earnings.

High blood pressure is the leading cause of premature death across the world. There are currently more than one billion people diagnosed with the condition.

Scientists are hoping this study will encourage more people to make lifestyle changes to improve their health.

"Preventative steps include eating healthily, exercising, and controlling weight," Yanagiya added. "Alcohol should be kept to moderate levels and binge drinking avoided."

The results from the study were presented at the 84th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Japanese Circulation Society.

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