Job stress can double the risk of heart disease

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Work could be bad for your health – and getting there may be damaging too.

Work could be bad for your health – and getting there may be damaging too.

One of the longest studies of the effects of stress at work has shown that it doubles the risk of dying from heart disease. A separate study of traffic pollution has shown that it increases the risk as well.

Researchers in Finland studied 812 factory workers for 25 years measuring their weight, blood pressure, cholesterol level and stress.

Their findings, published in the British Medical Journal, found that high job strain – defined as work which imposed heavy demands over which the workers had little control – was linked with a doubling of the risk of a fatal heart attack.

Workers who felt under pressure to make great efforts for little reward were also at twice the risk. High job stress was also associated with increased cholesterol and weight gain.

The authors, Mika Kivimaki and colleagues from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, say that traditional advice to people to stop smoking, eat less fat and take more exercise should be supplemented by seeking ways to prevent work stress.

Meanwhile, researchers from the Netherlands who studied 5,000 people aged 55-69 over eight years found there was a 34 per cent increased risk of dying from heart or respiratory disease for those living in areas of high pollution.

This risk rose, according to results published in The Lancet, to 95 per cent among those who lived near a major road.

A second study in the journal by researchers in Dublin found that reducing air pollution reduced deaths from lung cancer by 15 per cent.