Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

6-Figure Salaries Good for Your Heart

Lower-Income Women More Likely to Die of Heart Disease Than Women With Higher Income
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 15, 2005 (Dallas) -- Money can't buy happiness, but it may lower a woman's chance of having a heart attack or dying of heart disease, a new study shows.

The researchers followed 936 healthy women enrolled in the National Institute of Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-sponsored Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation. After five years, all of the women who earned more than $100,000 a year were still alive and free of heart disease, compared with just 78% of those earning less than $20,000 annually.

The study, which was designed to find out which socioeconomic factors have the greatest impact on heart health, showed that insurance status was the second most important socioeconomic factor affecting survival.

Whether a woman had a full-time job also affected her risk of deadly heart conditions, but surprisingly, race did not, says researcher Leslee Shaw, PhD, associate professor of medicine at UCLA.

Overall, a woman's socioeconomic status was the second largest risk factor for dying, trailing only pre-existing heart disease, she says.

"The nail of the matter," Shaw tells WebMD, "is that it is not being nonwhite that is the challenge, but being poor."

Many studies have shown that blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and American Indians are at higher risk of dying of heart disease than whites, she notes.

Many Elderly Women at Risk

More women than one might think fall into low-income categories that place them at an increased risk of dying from heart disease, says Shaw.

"If you look at census data, the median income of 65-year-old women is only $14,000 a year," she says. "That means more than half of elderly women, regardless of race, may be at increased risk."

Lower-income women also tend to have more symptoms, yet be on fewer medications, than their wealthier counterparts, she says.

Yet in the end, more money may end up being spent on poorer women, as they are more likely to be hospitalized at an earlier stage of illness, Shaw says.

Augustus Grant, MD, PhD, a past president of the American Heart Association and professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., says the study points to an important gap in care.

"We need to look at health care delivery at the societal level and ensure equal access for all," he tells WebMD.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association.

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure