Studies at Brigham Women’s Hospital indicate that women working in high stress jobs increase risk for heart attacks. This isn’t news to anyone who works under a lot of pressure. What is important is that women take this seriously. Do you feel a lot of stress at work? Is your job really draining you mentally and physically? Are you gaining weight and avoiding exercise? It could be time for you to make a few changes.
High Stress Jobs Increase Risk of Heart Attacks
Researchers analyzed self-reported data from 22,000 women over 10 years who participated in the landmark Women’s Health Study. The women were primarily Caucasian health professionals with an average age of 57 who provided information about heart disease risk factors, job strain and job insecurity. A standard questionnaire was used to evaluate job strain and job insecurity that asked for responses to questions such as “My job requires working very fast,” “My job requires working very hard” and “I am free from competing demands that others make.”
Researchers found that after adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, education, and income, women with high job strain were 38 percent more likely to experience a cardiovascular-related event including non-fatal heart attack, non-fatal ischemic stroke, coronary artery bypass grafting and/or coronary angioplasty, and cardiovascular death. Moreover, the risk of heart of attacks was increased by almost 70 % among women with high job strain.
High job strain is defined as having a demanding job that provides limited opportunity for decision making or to use one’s creative or individual skills. The study also found that job insecurity or fear of losing one’s job and job strain were both associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, increased cholesterol and excess body weight. However, unlike job strain, job insecurity was not directly related to the development of actual heart attacks, stroke, invasive heart procedures or cardiovascular death.
Based on the high stress job definition, it’s interesting to note that the medical field has some of the most stressful jobs ever. I would add any job in the area of food preparation and service is also very high stress. While these two careers seem worlds apart they are both high stress jobs that can increase risk for heart attacks. Both involve long hours on your feet and fast paced working conditions and always taking orders I don’t think it matters what kind of job you have, don’t take these risks lightly. Get a complete physical and of course take better care of yourself.