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Work Stress May Prompt Coronary Heart Disease

4 years, 8 months ago

Posted on Oct 09, 2012, 10 a.m.

Being stressed on the job associates with nearly a 25% increased risk of coronary heart disease, reports a meta-analysis of large-scale European study data.

Previously, a number of studies suggest psychosocial stress (job strain) as a risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD), though supporting data has been inconsistent.   Mika Kivimaki, from University College London (United Kingdom), and colleagues completed a meta-analysis of records from 13 European cohort studies (1985—2006) involving a combined 197,475 working adults from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and England.  All the participating men and women were without coronary heart disease and were employed at the study’s start. Job strain was measured at baseline in all studies and included questions about quantity of work, demands of the job, and if the participant had sufficient time to do the work, as well as whether or not the participant had decision freedom or learned new things at work. Job stress was evaluated against study-specific median scores. CHD incidence was assessed through national hospital admission and death registries at follow-up in all studies. Data were gathered on participant age, sex, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, and conventional coronary risk factors. Out of 1,488,728 person-years, there were 2,358 incidents of CHD recorded in all studies. Job stress was found to significantly associated with CHD events, as compared with no stress in the workplace. Being stressed on the job was associated with nearly a 25% increased risk of CHD, and the association remained significant when adjusting for confounding factors.

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Mika Kivimaki, Solja T Nyberg, G David Batty, Eleonor I Fransson, Katriina Heikkila. Lars Alfredsson, et al.  “Job strain as a risk factor for coronary heart disease: a collaborative meta-analysis of individual participant data.” Lancet, Sept. 14, 2012.

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