Falling Stocks, Bad For Health

When stocks are in a downward spiral, some people see their blood pressure go up. Doctors say the volatility on Wall Street is causing heart attacks and possibly even deaths.

Houtson Cardiologist Kevin Lisman with Methodist Hospital is beginning to hear more and more people complain about the stock market.

"That’s probably my biggest complaint now in clinic, is stress related to the financial markets."

Stress of any kind can have a negative impact on the heart. Dr Lisman says they went back and studied what happened after natural disasters: Hurricane Katrina and Rita.

"We looked at the incidence of cardiovascular disease and there a very, very strong correlation that cardiovascular deaths, heart attacks, arrhythmias, all these things went up after these natural disasters and then they settled once the disaster was gone."

So if a natural disaster can cause more heart attacks and heart disease then it should be no surprise that a financial disaster could do the same. Doctor Lisman says his patients are pretty open with him about their problems and what’s causing the stress.

"Well, they’re worried that they’re retirement funds are diminishing and they had dreams of retiring at an earlier age. And they’re having to work longer and they’re seeing these funds go down — they’re worried for their jobs."

The problems on Wall Street aren’t just affecting people’s health, it's affecting their weight as well. Stefanie Barthmare is a therapist with the Methodist Hospital’s weight management program. She’s also hearing patients talk about how their hurting portfolio is hurting their diet.

"People are saying things like: I’m not able to stay on plan this week. Have you seen what’s happened in the market? I’ve lost quite a bit of money, or I don’t feel like I can stay with what I’m doing on my eating plan right now. I just need some relief."

Doctor Lisman says people can’t do anything about the financial markets, but they can do things to relieve their stress, like exercise. A good work out will help get your mind off the subject and for those trying to lose weight, it’ll also burn a few calories as well.