Study: Job stress could hurt your heart

Study: Job stress could hurt your heart

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by Natalie Podgorski

KTVB.COM

Posted on October 3, 2012 at 10:59 AM

BOISE -- Stress at work could increase your chance of having a heart attack.

A group of European researchers came to that conclusion after looking over 13 different studies conducted between 1985 to 2006. Nearly 200,000 men and women were evaluated. At the start of the study, they did not have heart problems and were all employed.

After going through all the data, researchers say stressful jobs increase people's risk for heart attack by 23 percent. The group published their findings in The Lancet Journal.

The study defined a stressful job as one with high demands and little control over decisions being made. Researchers say about 15 percent of the participants in their study had stressful jobs.

"A lot of people are coming in increasingly and acknowledging that what I am doing with my life and my living during the day is probably affecting me in a bad way," said Dr. Rakesh Pai, a local cardiologist who works for Saint Alphonsus.

Dr. Pai says he sees the association between stress and heart problems with some of his patients. "People with heart disease have more stress in their lives but at the same time is it because of the stress that they have the cardiovascular disease probably not entirely."

Dr. Pai says family history and a patients overall health play a big part in whether or not someone will have heart issues.

When someone feels stress their body releases adrenaline and cortical. Dr. Pai says over time, if those hormone levels stay evaluated people may be at a higher risk for blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks.

Even if you experience a lot of stress at work, Dr. Pai says you can still reduce your risk for heart attack. "Take a few minutes everyday to do something that helps you relax," said Dr. Pai.

Researchers in the study concluded that less stress in the workplace might decrease the number of heart attacks. However, they said reducing stress would have a much smaller effect than tackling other risk factors like smoking.

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