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Florida homeowners sick from foreclosure stress

Numerous studies -- including one that focused in on Florida homeowners -- have discovered a connection between the threat of foreclosure and physical and psychological illness.

One Florida couple recently shared their personal story of having to deal with foreclosure and health problems. According to the 63-year-old wife, her 71-year-old husband had a heart attack, and had to stop working. This led to falling behind on payments, and the lender started the foreclosure process.

Due to the fear of losing their home, the 71-year-old started to lose sleep. He eventually also ended up having another heart attack and a stroke. The thought is that the extra stress led to his medical complications.

During this time, the man's 63-year-old wife also lost more than 40 pounds, and suffered from diabetes-related flare-ups, like having high blood pressure, pain in her feet and hands and problems with her eyes.

And, it turns out that this couple is not alone, as foreclosure counselors report that it is quite common to hear health complaints from those who are living in fear of losing their home. Many times, people complain of having more asthma attacks, high blood pressure and colds. Psychologically, many homeowners also report having panic attacks, depression and being irritable.

In fact, one study even found that statistically, hospital visits for anxiety, diabetes complications, hypertension and stress-related syndromes are higher in areas where there are more foreclosures.

However, doctors and foreclosure counselors remind homeowners that it's important to keep things in perspective, and remember that all is not lost. Quite often, people are making themselves sick worrying about the worst possible scenario. Instead, it's recommended to seek out financial and legal advice early on, to learn about what options may be available to help you avoid foreclosure.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "Stress of foreclosure can make homeowners ill," Bob LaMendola, Dec. 30, 2011

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