According to studies, work-related stress can have negative effects on your health. Learn about work stress and the impact on your heart.
It’s common for people to experience work-related stress, but some stress can negatively impact your heart. According to researchers from University College London, employees with demanding jobs and little freedom have higher risk of heart attacks.
In fact, the chances of experiencing a heart attack are 23% higher than those of people with less stressful jobs. Moreover, a similar 2008 study also links job stress to a higher risk of heart disease.
Mika Kivimäki, team leader of the University College London study, points to various studies in helping the team make the connection. “Our findings indicate that job strain is associated with a small, but consistent, increased risk of experiencing a first CHD event such as a heart attack,” Kivimäki said.
Overview of the Study
While looking through previous studies was helpful, these studies were not enough to make the connection. According to research authors, prior studies were either not large enough, not set up comprehensively, or had reverse causation bias.
For the University College London study, Kivimäki and the team wanted to determine the impact of work-related stress on coronary heart disease risk. Their study was a meta-analysis covering the UK, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, and 6 other European countries.
Beginning in 1985 and ending in 2006, the study asked participants to complete a questionnaire at the start. These questions asked about job demands, freedom to make decisions, levels of time-pressure demands, and excessive workloads.
There were 197,473 participants, with 15% reporting job strain and 2,358 cases of coronary heart disease incidences over the 7.5 year follow-up period. Furthermore, the 23% increase in heart disease risk stood even when considering gender, age, lifestyle, socioeconomic status, and other factors.
Comments on the Study
Regarding the study, Kivimäki stated the following:
- “The overall population attributable risk (PAR) for CHD events was around 3.4%, suggesting that if the association were causal, then job strain would account for a notable proportion of CHD events in working populations. As such, reducing workplace stress might decrease disease incidence. However, this strategy would have a much smaller effect than tackling standard risk factors such as smoking (PAR 36%) and physical inactivity (PAR 12%).”
Bo Netterstrøm from Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark, had additional comments:
- “Job strain is a measure of only part of a psychosocially damaging work environment, which implies that prevention of workplace stress could reduce incidence of coronary heart disease to a greater extent than stated in the authors’ interpretation of the calculated population-attributable risk for job strain. Exposures such as job insecurity and factors related to social capital and emotions, are likely to be of major importance in the future. The present economic crisis will almost certainly increase this importance.”
Job stress can definitely be a factor in heart disease but it’s not the only one. Leading a sedentary lifestyle, eating unhealthy foods, and practicing damaging habits like smoking have an impact as well.
If you want to improve your heart health and decrease the risk of heart disease, start by making lifestyle changes. Get regular exercise, eat a well-balanced diet, and take heart supplements like L-arginine Plus.
Its ingredients work to increase nitric oxide in the body, a natural compound that improves circulation. Try L-arginine Plus along with other healthy habits if you want to effectively support your heart health.