According to a report in The National, a ground-breaking study in the UAE has found that greater wealth has a significant downside for many people by making them more at risk of coronary artery disease.
The findings contrast with many developed parts of the world, where poorer people are more likely to develop the potentially fatal condition.
Patients in a test group earning more than $5,300 per month were "significantly" more likely to have coronary artery disease (CAD) and the related multi-vessel disease than those earning less than $1,300.
They do, however, tie in with what is often happening in developing countries, where increasing wealth creates a lifestyle that lead to greater rates of CAD.
One of the study’s authors, Dr Alawi Alsheikh-Ali, dean of the College of Medicine and professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) in Dubai, said higher rates of diabetes, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle among wealthier people accounted for the study’s findings.
Another finding was that people in rural areas were more at risk of heart problems than those in urban areas, something the researchers suggested may be because they have less access to medical care such as screening services.
Professor Julia Critchley, a scientist not associated with the study, but who has researched efforts to combat heart disease and diabetes in the Arab world, suggested the low levels of education among many patients in the study may explain the finding that wealthier individuals were at higher risk of CAD.
When people have a low level of education, greater wealth may lead them to adopt unhealthier lifestyles, an outcome not typically seen among better-educated groups.