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Being stuck in a stressful job increases risk of developing heart problems

Published on 14/09/2012

Being under stress at work and being unable to change the situation can increase your risk of developing heart disease.

Researchers from University College London have found that job strain is associated with a small but consistent risk of experiencing a coronary heart disease event like a heart attack.

Reporting in the Lancet Medical Journal, they analysed 13 European studies covering nearly 200,000 people. At the beginning of each of the studies, people were asked whether they had excessive workloads, as well as how much freedom they had to make decisions.

Participants were then sorted into two groups- people with job strain and those without- and followed for an average of seven and a half years.

Researchers found that job strain was linked to a 23% increased risk of heart attacks and deaths from coronary heart disease.

Experts said that working in any profession could lead to strain, but it was more common in lower skilled workers. They found that doctors who have a lot of decision making would be less likely to have job strain than someone on a busy factory line.

However, the report did emphasise that the risk to the heart was not as high as that caused by smoking or inactivity.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: "We know that being under stress at work, and being unable to change the situation, could increase your risk of developing heart disease.

"This large study confirms this, but also shows that the negative effect of workplace strain is much smaller than, for example, the damage caused by smoking or lack of exercise.

"Though stresses at work may be unavoidable, how you deal with these pressures is important, and lighting up a cigarette is bad news for your heart. Eating a balanced diet, taking regular exercise and quitting smoking will more than offset any risk associated with your job."

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  Health
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