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Chronic stress

Chronic Work Stress Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Disease

Friday, August 01, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: chronic stress, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) People with more stressful jobs have a higher risk of developing heart disease, according to a study conducted by researchers from University College London and published in the European Heart Journal.

Researchers monitored a group of British civil servants for 12 years, collecting data including their heart rates, blood pressure, blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol, how they felt about their jobs, and information about their diet, exercise, smoking and drinking habits.

The researchers found that those who reported a high degree of stress were 70 percent more likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who reported no stress. The effect held for both men and women, and was strongest for people under the age of 50.

"Among people of retirement age - and therefore less likely to be exposed to work stress - the effect on coronary heart disease was less strong," lead researcher Tarani Chandola said.

The researchers noted that people with more stress reported having less time to eat well or exercise properly, which would increase their risk of heart disease. But the stress itself was also associated with biological changes that upped their risk.

People who reported more stress also had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood, including in the morning after waking up. This suggests that stress interferes with the body's ability to properly regulate the neuroendocrine system, which releases hormones.

Stress hormones are well documented to cause damage to the body over long-term exposure.

Those reporting more stress also demonstrated poor functioning of the part of the nervous system that regulates heart beat.

The British Heart Foundation welcomed the study results, and said that it is important that people make the time to exercise. Being physically fit is one of the most important factors reducing the risk of heart disease.

"Keeping fit and active also helps to relieve stress and therefore reduce the risk of heart disease," the foundation said.

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