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Workplace stress can double men’s heart disease risk

A recently study has revealed a crucial connection between workplace stress and the onset of heart disease, particularly in men. The research team closely monitored approximately 6,500 white-collar professionals over 18 years, from 2000 to 2018.

These participants, with an average age of 45, had no previous history of heart disease. The diverse group of participants included 3,118 men and 3,347 women, employed in varied roles, such as senior management, technical, professional, and office workers.

The meticulous process involved the analysis of health and workplace surveys to understand the correlation between job strain, effort-reward imbalance, and cardiovascular health. The effort aimed to uncover the intricate relationships between perceived job stressors and heart disease risks.

What was learned about workplace stress

The study made a significant revelation, indicating that men under stressful, high-demand jobs with perceived lower rewards had almost double the risk of developing heart disease compared to men without such stressors. In fact, the risk was found to be 49% higher in men experiencing either job strain or effort-reward imbalance.

The severity of the combined effects of high-demand, low-reward jobs was found to be comparable to the impact of obesity on coronary heart disease risk. This raises pressing concerns regarding the importance of job environment on overall health, given the substantial amount of time people spend at work.

Interestingly, the study could not conclusively determine the impact of work-related psychosocial stress on women’s heart health. Mathilde Lavigne-Robichaud, lead author, stressed the need for further investigations to explore the complex interplay between different stressors and women’s cardiovascular health.

Implications and suggestions

Understanding the linkage between work stressors and cardiovascular health is pivotal, not just for public health but also for enhancing workforce well-being. Lavigne-Robichaud said, “Our study highlights the pressing need to proactively address stressful working conditions and to forge healthier work environments that are beneficial for both employees and employers.”

This study calls attention to the urgent requirement for reforms in workplace conditions and employment practices. Employers should recognize the importance of minimizing job strain and ensuring a balanced effort-reward system to foster a healthier, more productive workforce.

In summary, with an ever-increasing number of people exposed to stressful work conditions, this research serves as a crucial reminder of the need to prioritize and address workforce well-being to combat the rising prevalence of heart disease.

This is especially true among men. Further research exploring the intricate relationships between work-related stress and women’s heart health is also crucial to develop comprehensive strategies for workplace wellness.

This research, conducted by a team led by Mathilde Lavigne-Robichaud, a doctoral candidate in population health at CHU de Quebec-University Laval Research Center, was published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

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