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Hypertension among lower-status employees lingers well into retirement
Date:6/9/2009

ween the outcomes of this study and others. Overall, the link between higher-status occupation and lower prevalence of hypertension was stronger for male seniors than for female seniors. Moreover, females in professional positions had more hypertension than female managers, whereas male professionals did not have more hypertension than male managers. Leigh explained that this anomaly could be reflective of the fact that women have historically held lower-status professional jobs than men.

"Professional occupations include teaching and nursing, which in the past were jobs typically held by women," Leigh said. "Women in the study did not tend to be doctors or lawyers, meaning that they were more likely to have jobs on the lower rungs of the professions. This could account for their higher prevalence of hypertension when compared to female managers. Whatever the reason, the link between women in professional jobs and their risks of hypertension deserves more study."

The most important study outcome, according to Leigh, is that the pool of people thought to have job-related hypertension may be considerably larger than previously assumed. One study estimated that 12 percent of all coronary heart disease deaths can be attributed to occupation. When this estimate is applied to seniors, there could be an additional 2.1 million people in the United States with job-related hypertension.

Leigh hopes that this study will help bring job history on par with lifestyle factors when physicians consider hypertension risks with their patients.

"Even among the obese, we found that occupation correlated closely with hypertension," Leigh said. "We don't want to downplay the importance of lifestyle issues and health. But, in addition to recommending lifestyle changes and prescribing medication, physicians could advocate for a change of working conditions for these jobs in society at large to improve health outcomes for workers."


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Contact: Karen Finney
karen.finney@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9064
University of California - Davis - Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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