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Is your job bad for your heart?

October 20, 2012

Is your job stressing you out?

Heart Damage

Heart under stress

A new study published in the Lancet this past week clearly shows that job strain can be bad for your heart. Not surprisingly, those jobs that have high demands and little ability to control the outcome are the worse for your health. If your job has high stress, but great reward, the effect on your heart may not be as great.

“High work pace is not necessarily a stressor if sufficient time is allowed, and difficult tasks might be a challenge rather than being excessively strenuous if achieved successfully; hence, different types of work will have different strain profiles.” says Dr Bo Netterstrøm (Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Copenhagen, Denmark)

The author of the study Dr Mika Kivimäki (University College London, UK) agrees. “Netterstrøm is correct. It is time to look at other workplace exposures. We are now starting to examine things such as job insecurity and the ratio between efforts and reward. If you put a lot of effort into work but receive little reward in terms of satisfaction and salary, that is a bad combination, for example.”

Americans are the heaviest they have ever been, and cardiovascular diseases, like heart attack and stroke, already account for more than one-third of US deaths.  Increased job stress caused by the economic downturn and slow recovery may be adding to the health burden already placed upon this population. It may be time to reconsider worker health from this viewpoint.


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