Stress is a constant in our modern busy lives. But new research shows how high-stress jobs up the risk of strokes, indicating employers and employees alike should take a different approach to employment and how responsibilities are met with.
The most striking findings of the six large studies conducted under the umbrella of one project are that employees, both male and female have a 20 percent higher risk of strokes when in high-stress jobs. Also, women in high-stress jobs are approximately one third more prone to strokes than women in low-stress jobs.
The six studies included over 138,000 individuals and followed them over a 17-year time period. Stress in indeed a constant in our lives. However, the studies linked it to a higher incidence of heart complications, higher blood pressure as well as a wide array of medical conditions that lead to a spike in the risk of stroke.
The extensive analysis and the findings are featuring in the latest edition of the Neurology journal. Building on previous research looking at stress associated with one’s workplace, the researchers emphasized that:
“Having a lot of job stress has been linked to heart disease, but studies on job stress and stroke have shown inconsistent results. It’s possible that high-stress jobs lead to more unhealthy behaviors, such as poor eating habits, smoking and a lack of exercise”.
The studies made a difference between high-stress jobs and low-stress jobs. The main factors taken into account in the analysis were control and psychological demands, including coordination burden, mental load and deadline pressure. Low-stress jobs were those where low control and low demand were the main characteristics.
Of the participants, in between 11 and 27 percent occupied high-stress jobs, depending on the study. For this group, the risk of stroke spiked by 22 percent compared to those who were employed in low-stress jobs. For women, the risk of stroke spiked by 33 percent. No association has been found. However, it stand clear that high-stress jobs up the risk of strokes for both male and female employees.
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