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Health Team

Study: Chronic job stress could lead to premature death in men

Posted June 8, 2018 7:08 p.m. EDT
Updated June 9, 2018 11:22 a.m. EDT

— Most jobs involve a certain level of stress, but some cause more strain than others. New research suggests long-term job strain may actually be deadly.

Researchers say stress may be a bigger threat for men with heart disease, stroke or diabetes.

A new study in the Journal Lancet / Diabetes and Endocrinology shows that excess stress at work can play a major role in health risk.

The Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Hiathem Ahmed commented on the study, which looked at job strain data in seven European studies.

"People who had more job strain were dying prematurely and the contribution of stress at your job was higher than even high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and physical inactivity, it was actually only second to smoking." Ahmed said.

Researchers tracked more than 100,000 people for about 14 years.

They define "job strain" as working a demanding job with little control.

Men with heart disease, stroke or diabetes who reported high job strain had a 68-percent greater risk of early death compared to men without job strain.

The study shows that even men practicing a healthy lifestyle, by controlling risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, may have a higher risk of pre-mature death with chronic job strain.

"It just goes to show you that we can't only think about treating only a blood pressure, or treating a cholesterol, because even treating those things didn't mitigate the risk that came from job related stress throughout the years,” he said.

Ahmed said everyone should think more about all of the factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease.

He recommends thinking about how much time you spend at work, and to consider mental state over long periods of time.

If you have cardiovascular disease, he recommends taking advantage of heart rehabilitation programs that include stress reduction and counseling.