Foreclosures cause health problems

August 31, 2011 01:27PM

Losing a home through foreclosure is not just stressful financially, but it can also severely impact homeowners’ health, the Wall Street Journal reported. In a study, two economists showed a direct correlation between foreclosure rates in Florida, New Jersey, California and Arizona and the health of residents in those areas. In their paper, the researchers noted that an increase of 100 foreclosures corresponded to a 7.2 percent rise in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for hypertension, and an 8.1 percent increase for diabetes, among people aged 20 to 49.

Since the economists didn’t find any connection to diseases such as cancer or elective surgeries such as hip replacement, they concluded that areas with high foreclosures are seeing mostly an increase of stress-related ailments.

A 51 year old Staten Island resident, Patricia Graci, said she canceled a recent court appearance related to the foreclosure on her house because she couldn’t get out of bed. After she and her husband relied on their savings to pay their mortgage for two years, she said she got very anxious and depressed.

“Everything was going downhill,” she said. “My savings were going down to nothing.” At the local hospital in Homestead, Fla., emergency visits in 2010 more than doubled from 10 years earlier to about 67,000. Homestead also has the highest rate of mortgage delinquencies in the U.S.– in June, 41 percent of mortgage holders in the hardest-hit zip code of Homestead were 90 days or more past due on payments, according to real-estate data firm CoreLogic Inc. [WSJ]