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Stressful Job Might Be Tough on the Heart
Date:9/14/2012

FRIDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Stressed out by a demanding job? It may be affecting your heart's health, research suggests.

People whose jobs are very taxing but who also have little power to make workplace decisions are at greater risk for heart disease, according to a large new evidence review.

After taking lifestyle, age, gender and socioeconomic status into account, European researchers found that these workers are 23 percent more likely to have a heart attack than other people with less job-related stress.

The study was published online Sept. 13 in the journal The Lancet.

"Our findings indicate that job strain is associated with a small but consistent increased risk of experiencing a first [coronary heart disease] event, such as a heart attack," study leader Mika Kivimaki, of the University College London, said in a journal news release.

In conducting the study, the researchers examined the job strain experienced by nearly 200,000 employees with no history of heart disease. Workers from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom were followed between 1985 and 2006.

When the study began, the employees completed surveys on their job demands, their workload, the time pressure they faced and their freedom to make decisions.

The study revealed that nearly 2,400 of the participants had their first nonfatal heart attack over the course of the average 7.5-year follow-up period.

"The overall population attributable risk for [coronary heart disease] events was around 3.4 percent, suggesting that if the association were causal, then job strain would account for a notable proportion of [these heart] events in working populations," Kivimaki explained. "As such, reducing workplace stress might decrease disease incidence."

Two experts in the United States said it's far from proven, however, that anxiety-filled workdays increase cardiovascu
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