Job stress increases the risk of heart disease, but living a healthy
lifestyle can significantly reduce that risk, a new study says.
Researchers examined data from more than 102 000 men and women, aged 17 to
70, in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Sweden and Finland. Their lifestyles
were rated in one of three categories - healthy, moderately unhealthy or
unhealthy - based on smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise/inactivity and
Those with a healthy lifestyle had no lifestyle risk factors, while people
with a moderately unhealthy lifestyle had one risk factor. Two or more risk
factors qualified as an unhealthy lifestyle.
Nearly 16% of the participants reported job stress, according to the study,
which was published May in the Canadian Medical Association
Over 10 years, the rate of coronary artery disease was 18.4 per 1 000 for
people with job stress and 14.7 per 1 000 for those without job stress. The rate
of heart disease for people with an unhealthy lifestyle was almost 31 per 1 000
compared to 12 per 1 000 for those with a healthy lifestyle.
Pay closer attention
When lifestyle and work were factored together, the heart disease rate was
31.2 per 1 000 for people with job stress and an unhealthy lifestyle and about
15 per 1 000 for those with job stress and a healthy lifestyle.
"The risk of coronary artery disease was highest among participants who
reported job strain and an unhealthy lifestyle; those with job strain and a
healthy lifestyle had about half the rate of this disease," Dr Mika Kivimaki, of
the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London,
and colleagues wrote.
"These observational data suggest that a healthy lifestyle could
substantially reduce the risk of coronary artery disease risk among people with
job strain," they added.
Stress counselling isn't enough, they said. "Clinicians might consider paying
closer attention to lifestyle risk factors in patients who report job strain,"
the researchers concluded.
The US National Institutes of Health outlines what you can do to reduce