A study carried out in the United States, and reported on BBC News, found that unemployment in your 50s and 60s could increase the chance of a heart attack as much as if you were a smoker.

The researchers found that even after accounting for well-established heart-risk factors such as smoking and lack of exercise, job loss was independently linked with heart attack risk. Among those who were recently unemployed, heart attacks were significantly (27 per cent) more common, regardless of occupation type.

Dr Linda George from Duke University, North Carolina, said: “We think it is the stress of dealing with unemployment that may explain this.”

Dr Donna Arnett, of the American Heart Association, said: “This confirms other work that shows life stressors can increase your risk of a heart attack.”

Heart screening clinic 

Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Specialist Care offers expert private heart screening at a time and location to suit you. A heart screening assessment will check the health of your heart and detect the early signs of any heart problems.

Heart screening is offered by our specialist cardiologists and nurses at our three locations: Royal Brompton Hospital, Harefield Hospital, and our dedicated outpatients and diagnostics facility at 77 Wimpole Street.