High job stress ‘ups risk of heart disease by 40 pc for women’

Monday, November 15, 2010

WASHINGTON - A new research has revealed that women who under high job strain have a 40 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease and the need for procedures to open blocked arteries, compared to those with low job strain.

In addition, job insecurity - fear of losing one’s job - was associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, increased cholesterol and excess body weight.

Job strain is defined as having a demanding job, but little to no decision-making authority or opportunities to use one’s creative or individual skills.

Researchers analyzed job strain in 17,415 healthy women and used a standard questionnaire to evaluate job strain and job insecurity with statements such as: “My job requires working very fast.” “My job requires working very hard.” “I am free from competing demands that others make.”

The 40 percent higher risks for women who reported high job strain included heart attacks, ischemic strokes, coronary artery bypass surgery or balloon angioplasty and death.

“Women in jobs characterized by high demands and low control, as well as jobs with high demands but a high sense of control are at higher risk for heart disease long term,” said Natalie Slopen, a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University Center.

“From a public health perspective, it’s crucial for employers, potential patients, as well as government and hospitals entities to monitor perceived employee job strain and initiate programs to alleviate job strain and perhaps positively impact prevention of heart disease,” said Michelle A. Albert, the study’s senior author and associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Mass.

The research was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2010. (ANI)

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