Every 100-point shift increased heart-disease deaths by 5% when the Chinese stock market went from boom to bust between 2006 and late 2008. Then, last year, Duke researchers connected stock market drops with increases in heart attacks here.
Why are the stock market's fast moves so bad for your heart? Plenty of explanations make sense: Sudden stress can strangle blood flow to the heart, boost blood pressure and speed up heart rates. The flood of stress hormones and racing blood may tear open deposits of gunky plaque in artery walls, causing plaque ruptures and dangerous, even deadly, clots. And don't underestimate factors like stress-induced snacking on foods high in saturated fat.
Psychologists interviewed during the market's big financial swings say they see more insomnia, poor concentration, irritability and excessive tension. It's not a temporary blip. Business-cycle low points have coincided with a rise in suicide ever since the Great Depression, says a new government report.