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Financial problems

Financial Debt Causes Real Physical Health Problems, Concludes Survey

Sunday, November 30, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: financial problems, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) The stress caused by debt is a major health risk linked to a variety of health problems, according to a recent survey conducted by Associated Press-AOL Health.

Scientists have known for a long time that stress can be hard on the body, due to the effects of stress hormones designed to prime the body for "fight or flight." Over the long term, these hormones can hamper everything from digestive, immune and heart health to reproduction, growth and memory.

Researchers conducted a phone poll of 1,002 adults from every state but Alaska and Hawaii between March 24 and April 3. They found that people with high levels of debt-related stress had a 44 percent chance of experiencing migraines or other headaches, compared with only 15 percent of those with low debt stress. They also had a 27 percent chance of ulcers or other digestive problems, a 29 percent chance of severe anxiety and a 23 percent chance of severe depression - compared with an 8, 4 and 4 percent chance, respectively.

Fifty-one percent of those with high debt stress had lower back pain or other muscle tension, compared with only 31 percent of the less stressed. The risk of heart attacks was also twice as high among the highly stressed.

The findings suggest that the increasing prevalence of financial stress is likely to lead to a significant public health crisis.

The researchers reported that debt stress has increased 14 percent since 2004, rising along with debt itself. Total consumer debt, mostly from credit cards, has increased to $957 billion from the 2004 figure of $800 billion - or nearly 20 percent. The average car loan has increased from $24,888 to $27,397 and the total amount currently owed in mortgages has increased a whopping 35 percent from the 2004 total of $7.8 trillion to the current $10.5 trillion.

The average household now puts 20 percent of its after-tax income into paying off financial obligations, as compared to 18.5 percent in 2004.

Sources for this story include: ap.google.com.

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