DALLAS — When doctors' average annual income declines, their blood pressure goes up and stays high for as long as five years, according to a study that shows it is not just poor people whose health is affected by economic status.
The finding, in a professional group with an average annual income of more than $100,000 in 1984, parallels findings previously made in blue-collar workers, said Robert Swank, an economist from Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore.
He presented his findings Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Assn.
"There are not many decreases in income among physicians, so their hypertension is fairly low," Swank said. But the national average of doctors' incomes did decline in six separate years since World War II, he added.
Sees Strong Link
For each 1% drop in income, the number of doctors with elevated blood pressure rose 2.5% the next year. "The association is strong," Swank said.