New studies reveal that lacking a feeling of safety can impose health risks as developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems. Read on to see why.
The idea is not entirely new. Past studies tied rising crime environments with heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, and other possible scenarios. But, the present study offers in-depth insight by answering new questions. Are the residents of quiet neighbourhoods more affected than those living in the ‘bad’ parts of the town when criminality rates climb? Also, how the residents of long-known dangerous neighbourhoods are as healthy as the peaceful communities?
The study provided a parallel between the communities with high rates of criminality and the safe parts of the city. Surprisingly, the difference has also been reflected in the residents’ blood pressure.
The trial involved 17,783 citizens of Chicago and took part between 2014 and 2016 – times when criminality was a real issue for some neighbourhoods. The researchers labelled the inhabited areas by digging into the annual statistics of crime rates covering 1,000 residents in census tracts.
At the beginning of the study, violent crime rates of 41,3 were recorded in half of the census tracts. In some areas, the crimes rates rose to 59,1 incidents while in others, it decreased by 31,1 incidents per 1,000 inhabitants.
The researchers concluded that every extra 20 incidents/1,000 citizens are associated, on average, with 3% greater chances of elevated blood pressure. On the other side, in the areas regarded as quiet places to live, every 20-unit boost in criminality resulted in 5% increased odds for the residents. The facts are not there yet. Every 20 incidents give rise to 6% more chances of hospital admission. The diagnose – heart problems.
Surprisingly, in the environments where the criminality was always high, the residents become ‘accustomed to the conditions.’ In other words, they became ‘immune’ to related heart problems…out of force of habit.
However, the study didn’t have the target to find out how life-threatening events affect the health of the citizens. Also, a more individual approach is needed to determine to what extent the high-crime communities exert an influence on blood pressure.
Also, other factors have a say for your heart health. Dr. Corey Tabit, the study’s senior author and a cardiology researcher at the University of Chicago, explains:
Similarly, eating a balanced diet low in saturated fats and high in vegetables is a good way to maintain heart health for most people, although specific dietary needs also vary and patients should discuss their unique needs with their doctors.