We know that you can lose your money, but is gambling also bad for your health? A new study finds that people who gamble at least five times a year have more health problems than people who gamble less frequently.

People with a severe gambling addiction are the most likely to report serious health problems, such as increased heart rate, angina and liver disease when compared to people who have never had a gambling problem. Psychologist Nancy Petry says, “One of the questions that has never been answered is whether gambling is associated with health risks.”

Petry and her team studied a group of people, more than one-quarter of whom gambled five or more times a year, which included playing cards for money; playing bingo or keno; gambling at casinos; betting on horses, dogs or sports games; buying lottery tickets and playing the stock market.

Even when the researchers took into consideration the presence of other disorders such as alcoholism, obesity, smoking and psychiatric illnesses, they found that problem and pathological gamblers were more likely to report angina and cirrhosis of the liver compared to at-risk or low-risk participants. Pathological gamblers were also more likely to have elevated heart rate and other liver diseases in addition to cirrhosis.

However, other research has found that gamblers are are healthier than non-gamblers.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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