CLEVELAND – Many of us experience stress at work – some more than others.
Now, new research suggests long-term job strain may be deadly, especially for men with heart disease, stroke or diabetes.
Haitham Ahmed, MD, of Cleveland Clinic, was not involved in the study but said results show stress on the job can take its toll.
“People who had more job strain were dying prematurely,” he said. “The contribution of stress at your job was higher than even high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and physical inactivity, it was actually only second to smoking.”
Researchers looked at job strain recorded in seven European studies and tracked 102,633 people for about 14 years.
The authors defined ‘job strain’ as having a demanding job with little control.
Results show men with heart disease, stroke or diabetes who reported high job strain had a 68 percent greater risk of early death when compared to men without job strain.
According to the study, even men who were living a healthy lifestyle and controlling risk factors, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, still had a higher risk of premature death if they were chronically stressed at work.
“It just goes to show you that we can’t only think about treating only a blood pressure, or treating a cholesterol, because even treating those things didn’t mitigate the risk that came from job related stress throughout the years,” said Dr. Ahmed. “So, we have to think more comprehensively about all the things that contribute to cardiovascular disease.”
Dr. Ahmed said it’s important to think about how much time is spent at work and to consider one’s mental state over long periods of time.
He encourages people with cardiovascular disease to seek out cardiac rehabilitation programs that incorporate stress reduction and counseling to reduce their risk of premature death.