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Dying for a job

Rasmus Roerth, a doctor at Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark, believes that being unemployed is associated with a 50% higher risk of death in patients with heart failure. He studied the cases of more than 20,000 heart failure patients, and concluded that being unemployed was linked with a greater likelihood of death than having a history of diabetes or stroke.

The study included all patients of working age (18-60 years) with a first hospitalisation for heart failure in Denmark between 1997 and 2012. Of the 21,455 patients with a first hospitalisation for heart failure, 11,880 (55%) were part of the workforce.

During an average follow-up of 1,005 days, 16% of employed and 31% of unemployed patients died, while 40% of employed and 42% of unemployed patients were rehospitalised for heart failure.

After adjusting for age, sex, education level and co-morbidities, unemployed heart failure patients had a 50% increased risk of death and 12% increased risk of rehospitalisation for heart failure, compared to those who were employed.

Picture source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain