A stressful job in which men are underestimated could double their risk of being diagnosed with coronary heart disease.
One study looked at nearly 6,500 white-collar workers in Canada, including managers, technical staff and office workers.
Researchers questioned them to see if the rewards of their work, such as recognition, pay raises, and promotions, fell short of the amount of effort they put in.
The study also measured “job strain,” which was higher if the job was demanding and the employee had little control over their work tasks.
Men with any of these problems were almost 50 percent more likely to end up with coronary heart disease.
Researchers found that men with stressful jobs and who feel underappreciated have the same risk of heart disease as someone who is obese.
Men with both work problems were twice as likely to develop coronary heart disease, when their health was followed for an average of 18 years.
That is the same risk of the condition that arises from obesity.
Experts say decades of feeling unappreciated and stressed at work can raise blood pressure, put pressure on the heart or contribute to hardening of the arteries that cause coronary heart disease.
There are 2.3 million people in the UK living with coronary heart disease (CHD), which occurs when the blood supply to the heart is blocked by hardened arteries and often causes severe chest pain called angina and difficulty breathing. breathe.
The study did not find an increased risk of coronary heart disease related to work stress in women.
What are the symptoms and causes of coronary heart disease?
Coronary heart disease is a term used to describe what happens when the blood supply to the heart is blocked or interrupted by a buildup of fatty substances in the coronary arteries.
Over time, the walls of your arteries can become covered with fatty deposits.
It can be caused by lifestyle factors, such as smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol on a regular basis.
It is one of the leading causes of death in the UK.
The main symptoms are:
- Chest pain (angina)
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain throughout the body.
- Feeling faint
- Feeling sick (nausea)
Source: National Health Service
However, this may be because women tend to develop the condition later in life and it is less common in them.
Dr Mathilde Lavigne-Robichaud, who led the study from Laval University in Quebec, said: “Giving people more control over their work, more recognition and a better work-life balance could help improve health cardiac of men”.
“More research is needed on the effects of making work less stressful for women, but evidence suggests it would reduce the risk of depressive symptoms.
“Given the amount of time we all spend at work, these results are extremely important.”
People in the study were considered to have a demanding job based on questions that included whether they had many responsibilities and tight deadlines.
They had a lack of control if, for example, they had little say in their work tasks or decisions, or if their job was insecure.
People with high demands and lack of control at work were categorized as having high job stress, which puts them at a 49 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease, the study suggests.
People answered nine questions about the effort they put into the job and nine about job rewards, such as good pay and recognition.
If the effort outweighed the rewards, they were also found to have a 49 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease.
This is comparable to the estimated 42 percent risk of having a heart condition related to high cholesterol and the 35 percent risk related to being a smoker.
It’s also close to the 52 percent risk associated with a family history of cardiovascular disease.
The study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, analyzed 3,118 men free of heart disease, among whom 571 developed coronary heart disease during the 18 years they were followed.
It included 3,347 women without heart disease, of whom 265 were diagnosed with coronary heart disease.
Even taking into account other stressful life events, total hours worked, and health factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, men were more likely to develop the heart condition whether they had a high level of job stress or not. They were fully rewarded for their efforts. .
Almost a quarter of people had one of these work-related problems.
Previous studies have shown mixed or inconclusive results about how job stress affects heart disease, but researchers suggest they did not look at men and women separately, nor track people’s health for long enough.