Men may have a higher risk of heart disease from work stress

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 8 months ago

A recent study has found that men who work in high-stress jobs and feel unappreciated for their efforts may have twice the risk of heart disease compared to those who do not face these psychosocial stressors. The study, which examined 6,500 white-collar workers in Canada, found that the combination of high job demands and low control, known as "job strain," along with the feeling of high effort and low reward, known as "effort-reward imbalance," can contribute to plaque build-up, constricted arteries, and increased blood pressure.

The study, conducted over a span of 18 years, focused specifically on men and found inconclusive results regarding the impact of work stress on women's heart health. Researchers measured job strain and effort-reward imbalance through questionnaires and retrieved heart disease information from the participants. They concluded that the combined impact of these stressors on heart disease risk was similar to the impact of obesity.

Experts have suggested several potential reasons why the combination of high effort and low reward is particularly harmful to heart health. One reason is the physical response to stress, which can be exacerbated by the feeling of lacking control. Stress can also affect the cardiovascular system by increasing plaque build-up and constricting arteries. Additionally, stress can lead to overeating and decreased sleep quality, both of which are detrimental to heart health.

It is unclear why job stress appears to have a greater impact on men's cardiovascular health compared to women's. Some theories suggest that women may have more coping mechanisms to deal with work-related stress, or that hormones provide some protection against heart disease in women. However, further research is needed to fully understand the gender differences in the impact of work stress on heart health.

Managing work-related stress is essential for maintaining heart health. Experts recommend practicing mindfulness, taking breaks throughout the day for relaxation and deep breathing, and striving for a work-life balance. Employers also have a role to play in creating a supportive work environment where employees feel they have control and can voice their concerns. Engaging in hobbies, regular exercise, and getting good quality sleep outside of work can also have a positive impact on heart health.

In conclusion, the study highlights the detrimental effects of work stress on heart health, particularly for men in high-stress jobs. While quitting may not always be an option, individuals can take steps to better manage their stress and protect their heart health.


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