Job stress increases heart risk
A recent study has found that heart risk is directly affected by stressful jobs, as well as other lifestyle factors. Job stress stimulates neuroendocrine pathways, stockpiling adrenaline, and has indirect effects on the presence of healthy lifestyle behaviors. Analyzing the Whitehall II study of British civil servants, the researchers found that risk for coronary heart disease was increased especially in young office workers due to cumulative work stress.
Comparisons between the stressfulness of US jobs verses jobs in England have yet to be drawn, but researchers assume the key lies in what the workers “perceive” to be stressful. According to Dr. Vincent Bufalino, in conjunction with diet, exercise is a way to release adrenaline created by stress, which helps to relieve the cumulative effects of work-place tension. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:
“This study adds to the evidence that the work stress-coronary heart disease association is causal in nature,” Dr. Chandola and colleagues concluded.
About 16% of stress’ effect on the heart was attributable to its impact on the metabolic syndrome while another about 16% was attributed to unhealthy behaviors such as reduced physical activity, diet, and other lifestyle factors.
“We’ve been trying to understand the mechanisms associated with stress for a long time,” commented Vincent Bufalino, M.D., of Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill., a spokesperson for the American Heart Association.
Although it’s not clear how the stress level of government employment in England compares with office work in the U.S., he said the key was likely workers’ perceptions that their job produced a stressful environment, which can likely be generalized.