Job Stress Affecting Your Heart? Follow A Healthy Lifestyle
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
While a stressful job can increase the risk of heart problems and lead to a 25 percent higher chance of having a heart attack or dying of other heart related illnesses, researchers have found that a healthy lifestyle could reduce this risk.
The results, which were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), found that people who lead healthy lifestyles where they didn´t smoke, exercised regularly and were not obese had lower risks of heart disease even if they experienced job stress when compared to those who lead unhealthy lifestyles.
The study found that the risk of coronary artery disease was actually highest among participants who reported job stress and had an unhealthy lifestyle, while those with job strain and a healthy lifestyle had half the rate of disease. This suggested that a healthy lifestyle could substantially reduce disease risk amongst those with job strain.
Those with healthy lifestyles were considered to have no lifestyle risk factors, while those with a moderately unhealthy lifestyle had one risk factor. Those with two or more risk factors were considered as having an unhealthy lifestyle.
“There were 1086 incident events in 743 948 person-years at risk during a mean follow-up of 7.3 years. The risk of coronary artery disease among people who had an unhealthy lifestyle compared with those who had a healthy lifestyle (hazard ratio [HR] 2.55, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] 2.18—2.98; population attributable risk 26.4 percent) was higher than the risk among participants who had job strain compared with those who had no job strain (HR 1.25, 95 percent CI 1.06—1.47; population attributable risk 3.8 percent). The 10-year incidence of coronary artery disease among participants with job strain and a healthy lifestyle (14.7 per 1000) was 53 percent lower than the incidence among those with job strain and an unhealthy lifestyle (31.2 per 1000),” the authors wrote.
About one in six people in the study actually reported being under job strain, while the rates of heart problems over the past decade ranged from 12 cases per 1,000 in generally healthy people without such job strain, to 31 per 1,000 people with job strain and multiple lifestyle risks.
It was also noted that stress counseling wasn´t enough to offset some of the risks and that a healthier lifestyle could go a long way towards reducing the health risks.
“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 KivimÃ¤ki, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London (UCL), said in a statement. “These observational data suggest that a healthy lifestyle could substantially reduce the risk of coronary artery disease risk among people with job strain.”
However, other types of job stress could still influence heart risks, including low social support and job insecurity, neither of which was considered in the study. Job strain can still have negative health results, which past studies have suggested.
“With chronic stress, there’s activation of these systems that can have long-term effects on things like insulin resistance, central obesity (and) high blood pressure,” cardiologist Dr. Vincent Figueredo from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and who was not involved in this most recent study, told Reuters Health.