Student debt increases the risk of heart disease in middle age

According to this study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, those with student loan debt had higher risk scores for heart disease and C-reactive protein.

The researchers looked at data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent and Adult Health. They followed over 20,000 people ranging in age from 12 to 44. A subset of 4,193 underwent medical examinations. Researchers also used a tool to estimate each person's chances of developing cardiovascular disease over 30 years.

It was discovered that Americans in their 30s and early 40s who were still carrying student debt had higher risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and being overweight. As college costs have risen, students and their families have taken on more debt to attend and remain in college. People who repaid their student debt had better or equal health than those who had never had student debt.

Paw Vej from Ltd says, "there is a significant connection between student debt and cardiovascular illness, especially among adults in early mid-life. This is because many people who have student debt are also struggling financially, leading to unhealthy eating habits and other stressors that contribute to disease."

He also adds, "studies have shown that those who have high levels of student debt are more likely to suffer from heart problems such as hypertension and atherosclerosis. In addition, they are also at a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels), stroke, or even cardiovascular death."

How can you reduce stress for better heart health?

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise and increasing your activity level can help reduce stress throughout the day. Exercise reduces the stress hormone cortisol production in your body, and it also produces endorphins, which are the body's feel-good chemicals.

Get enough rest

nadequate or poor-quality sleep can increase the risk of various chronic health problems, including heart disease, over time. Short-term sleep deprivation has been linked to several well-known risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure.

Start journaling

Keeping a journal has been shown to help reduce stress. Write about whatever comes to mind. Some people reflect on their day, write about their plans, or keep a gratitude journal. Writing goals can help some people feel less stressed and more motivated.

Saying no sometimes is always an option

You've probably heard it a hundred times: you can't always make everyone happy. If you struggle to find time in your day to do the things that are important to your health and family, you may benefit from finding ways to cut some things from your schedule. Make time to exercise, relax, and engage in activities that help to reduce stress rather than increase it.

Spend more time with friends and family

Time spent with friends and family can benefit your mental and physical health. According to one study, spending time with friends and children promotes the release of the natural stress-relieving chemical oxytocin. Many studies have found that people who have a solid social network live longer and recover more quickly from health crises such as heart attacks. Having close friends and family members to whom you can turn can help you manage stress and make your life more enjoyable, reducing anxiety.

How can you deal with excessive student loan debt?

Calculate your total debt

The first thing you need to understand in any debt situation is the total amount you owe. Students typically graduate with a slew of federal and private loans, having arranged for new funding each year they were in school. So put your head down and do the math. Knowing your total debt, can you devise a strategy for paying it down, consolidating it, or possibly considering forgiveness.

Downsize your expenses

To reduce your spending, you must first understand where your money is going. A month's worth of payments can reveal a lot. Examine your expense list to distinguish between "wants" and "needs." You can now plan a reasonable budget by considering your mortgage or rent, other loans/debt payments, gas, groceries, medicine, etc. Make a list of all your expenses and determine how much money you have left after meeting your basic needs. To quickly get out of debt, you must save as much as possible.

Make extra monthly payments

After downsizing your expenses, make larger payments to reduce the principal faster and shorten the total payoff time. Lowering the principal balance shortens the loan period and reduces the interest paid.

Another option is to increase payments by sending checks every two weeks rather than monthly. Just make sure to tell your loan servicer to apply your extra payment to your principal balance instead of putting your account in a 'paid ahead' status. This allows you to pay off your principal balance faster and save money on interest.

If you have multiple loans, you have several options for deciding which to send extra payments to. It's usually best to start with the loan with the highest interest rate to save the most money.

Consider refinancing your student loan

Student loan refinancing can save you money, but depending on your credit, income, and financial situation, the amount will vary. The more student loan debt you have, the more money you can save by refinancing.

Student loan refinancing will save you money if you qualify for a lower interest rate and keep the same or a shorter term. Lower interest rates can result in lower monthly student loan payments, a shorter repayment period, or both.

Consolidate your student loan debt

Consolidation is a method of making student loan repayment more manageable and possibly less expensive. You consolidate all of your student loans, obtain one large consolidation loan, and use it to pay off all of the others. Every month, you must make a single payment to a single lender.

Consolidating loans allows you to change the terms of your loan and lower your monthly payment. If you have difficulty making your monthly payments, this should help you avoid default. If you default, your credit score will suffer significantly, and the bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for seven years.

Payment of student loans on time positively affects your credit score, and missing one payment will lower your credit score. Paying bills per month should reduce the likelihood of neglect, and avoiding default will help protect your credit score.

Suppose you're only consolidating because you can't keep up with multiple lenders' monthly payments, set up an automatic debit from your bank account to pay the bill every month and be done with it. Simply ensure that the account is adequately funded each month.

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