A Stressful Job 'Can Double Risk of Heart Disease'
Byline: ROBIN YAPP
HAVING a stressful job could double your risk of suffering heart disease and diabetes, a study suggests.
Experts found evidence that those exposed to stress in the workplace are significantly more likely than others to display major risk factors for heart problems.
Researchers compared the levels of stress experienced at work by more than 10,000 civil servants with the incidence in the group of what the experts call metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of factors such as fatness around the waist, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which increase an individual's risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Stress in the workplace has already been linked to heart disease by a number of previous studies but the biological processes behind the link have remained unclear.
The latest study, by a team at University College London, suggests that the association between stress and metabolic syndrome may be the key factor.
Stress and anxiety are the biggest causes of long-term illness in Britain and cost the country [pounds sterling]3.7billion a year in lost productivity and healthcare.
Researchers studied 10,308 British civil servants aged 35-55 over a 14-year period, measuring their levels of stress at work four times between 1985 and 1999.
They also measured the various aspects of metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, in the participants between 1997 and 1999.
The results showed that there was a link between the amount of stress experienced at work and symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
This was the case even when considering other risk factors for the syndrome such as social class, smoking, heavy drinking and lack of exercise.
The UCL team also found there was a 'dose-response' relationship, meaning that the more stress someone suffered in their job, the more likely they were to suffer metabolic syndrome.
For example, men who suffered chronic work stress were twice as likely to develop the syndrome as men who had no exposure to stress. …