Job Stress Increases Risk of Chronic Heart Disease

Sunday, February 24, 2008 by: J. R. Schaumloeffel
Tags: chronic stress, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) Next time someone at work tells you to "chill out", you might want to seriously consider their recommendation. A study published in the European Heart Journal said that a stressful job has a direct biological impact on a person and raises their risk of heart disease.

The study followed more than 10,000 British civil servants from Whitehall over a 12-year period. People in all types of jobs from messengers to bureaucrats were questioned about how they felt about their jobs. Researchers monitored heart rate, blood pressure and measured the amount of cortisol (a stress hormone) in the blood and noted individual diet, exercise, smoking and drinking habits.

It was found that people under the age of 50 who said their job was stressful had a 70% increase of developing heart disease than those who felt they had a stress-free job.

During the 12 years of following the employees, it was found that chronic work stress was associated with chronic heart disease (CHD) and was strongest among men and women under 50. Older employees of retirement age with much less job stress had less CHD than the under 50 group.

Lifestyle was also determined to be a key factor in the development of CHD. People who said they had a stressful job were less likely to eat a diet full of fruits and vegetables and exercise regularly. Drinking did not affect the development of CHD.

The research team feels confident that the findings linking job stress and CHD are accurate and hold true despite poor diet and exercise habits.

Why does the stress to CHD link hold true despite lifestyle considerations? It was found that stress upsets the part of the nervous systems that regulates the heart beat and how the heart works. Stress also disturbs the release of hormones which is why there is a high amount of cortisol found in people with stressful jobs. Cortisol increases blood pressure, blood sugar levels and suppresses the autoimmune system.

It was previously believed that people in lower paid jobs would have a higher rate of CHD due to more stress, but the findings held true across all pay grades.

This study also confirmed the fact from other studies that work related stress is associated with poor lifestyle habits such as smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet which all can affect a person's health.

A healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruit along with regular exercise will help offset the effects of work related stress.

About the author

Jill R. Schaumloeffel has been an avid follower of alternative medicine and nutrition ever since she discovered homeopathy while living in Germany. She has used “old-fashioned” herbal remedies, good nutrition and sot the consultation of alternative practitioners to keep her family in good health. She has a degree in electrical engineering and uses her technical writing skills to write about nutrition and alternative therapies. For more information see

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