by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Retirement before age 65 increases your risks of heart disease and stroke. Researchers posted a study in the March 1, 2008 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology after studying 16,827 Greek men and women for 7.7 to 12.5 years. Retirement age ranged from less than 45 to over 65. For every 5 extra years of working the total deaths were ten percent less than the retired at that age.

They took into account variables such as weight, activity, smoking, alcohol and gender. At enrollment they excluded people with chronic diseases such diabetes, stroke, cancer and heart disease. Most of the increased deaths seen in the early retirees were from heart diseases and strokes.

The cause of the increased mortality is unknown. I have often speculated about people who seem to be healthy and work into older ages, then when they finally retire tend to die soon afterwards. I have wondered whether it was just their age, or if they had lost a major reason for living. This study seems to lean toward the latter.

But that does not mean that there are a lot happy, early retirees who live long lives. Perhaps it has something to do with having a purpose to live, for instance, family, friends, hobbies or volunteering.

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  1. Dr.Cason Says:

    Isn’t that interesting?

    Once we remove ourselves from the day to day world it gets harder to dive back into

    It is definitely something we should continue to work on. As for me? I’ll still
    plenty to do when I retire even if that means just reading the newspaper. Ahhh!
    That sounds nice.

  2. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H Says:

    Yes it does. The study did not delve into quality of life, or happiness issues.

  3. Boomers & Seniors: News You Can Use: Aging Parents, Retirement Trends, More… | Seniors For Living Says:

    [...] you retire, remember to continue a purpose for living.” Read more on that subject in Retirement May Be Dangerous to Your Health, posted at James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor [...]

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