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Work Related Stress Linked to Heart Disease and Diabetes  - British Journal of Medicine

January 20th 2006

Work Related Stress Linked to Heart Disease and Diabetes  - British Journal of Medicine

Stress at work

Stress at work can lead to a metabolic syndrome that causes heart disease and diabetes, according to researchers at the University College London.  The exact causes are unclear but there is new evidence for the “biological plausibility” link between work stress and heart disease.

The researchers looked at 10,308 British civil servants between the ages of 35 and 55 over a 14 year period.  They measured work stress four times between 1985 and 1999 and they also measured risk factors for the metabolic syndrome between 1997 and 1999.  These risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  The researchers also took into account social position, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption and lack of exercise.    


The researchers found a “dose-response” relation between job stress and the metabolic syndrome, even after adjusting for the risk factors.  Men with chronic work stress were twice as likely to develop the syndrome as those with no exposure to the stress.  Women were not as likely to succumb to the syndrome as men, but their risk increased also.

People working at lower employment grades were more likely to get the syndrome, confirming previous reports.  There are some things you can do to help prevent the metabolic disorder that leads to heart disease and diabetes.  Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet will help prevent the syndrome.  Quit smoking and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol will help.  Also keep physically active.


As we begin to understand how stress affects our health, there is a new industry being created to help us deal with stress.  Stress coaches are being employed in effort to improve health.  Experts suggest Deep breathing, PMR and the 'Relaxation Response' exercises to avoid stress.  Keeping a stress diary may be helpful.  Also thought awareness, rational thinking and positive thinking are other avenues that should be investigated for keeping stress levels low.  .    

The study was published online by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Thursday.

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

Books on Heart Disease

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