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Job stress bad for you

14th September 2012

Researchers say that those people with a highly demanding job but little control over it could be at increased risk of suffering a heart attack.

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The team from University College London analysed 13 existing European studies covering nearly 200,000 people and found “job strain” was linked to a 23% increased risk of heart attacks and deaths from coronary heart disease, although smaller than for smoking or not exercising.

Writing in The Lancet medical they found that strain was more common in lower skilled workers.

In the studies, people were asked whether they had excessive workloads or insufficient time to do their job as well as questions around how much freedom they had to make decisions and they were then followed over seven years.

UCL researcher Professor Mika Kivimaki said: “Our findings indicate that job strain is associated with a small but consistent increased risk of experiencing a first coronary heart disease event, such as a heart attack.”

Eliminating job strain would prevent 3.4% of those cases, though there would be a 36% reduction if everyone stopped smoking.

Lifestyle choices were a major factor, he added, and that people with high stress are work can still reduce the risking by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

British Heart Foundation medical director Professor Peter Weissberg said the study confirmed that being under stress at work, and being unable to change the situation increased risk of developing heart disease.

But he added that how people dealt with pressure they faced at work was also an important factor.

 

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