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How Worrying About Money Affects Your Health

David Mielach, contributing writer

Stressing about finances can adversely impact your wellbeing.

Worrying about money can affect you in more ways than you may realize. New research has found that the risks of several significant health problems increase when people worry about their financial situation.

While it is not surprising that the main source of stress for most people is money, this new research has found just what people can expect from their worries.  In a comparison of people who had a high level of stress over debt and those who did not, it was found that people with high stress levels were twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with those who did not worry about their financial situation. The poll, conducted by the Associated Press and AOL, also found that:

  • Ulcers or digestive tract problems — 27 percent of people with high stress over finances reported digestive problems versus 8 percent of people who did not worry about finances.

  • Headaches or migraines —44 percent of people financially stressed reported having migraines versus 4 percent of people with low financial stress.

  • Depression– 23 percent of people with financial stress were depressed, compared with 4 percent of people who were not stressed.

  • Muscle tension or lower back pain — Highly stressed people were 65 percent more likely to suffer from back pain and muscle tensions than those with low stress.

There is, however, an easy way to avoid health problems associated with worrying about finances. Additional research has shown that people who take an active role in planning and learning about their finances were less stressed and more confident in their financial situations. According to a TIAA-CREF Institute study, people who are educated about their finances are more likely to save for retirement. Additionally, attending a financial-training program increased people's feeling that they were in control of their finances by 25 percent, according to a recent Metlife survey.

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