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Stressful Jobs Hard on the Heart
Date:10/9/2007

High anxiety, low control doubles recurrent heart attack risk, study finds

TUESDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic on-the-job stress doubles the risk that someone who has had a heart attack will have another major coronary event, a Canadian study finds.

Other studies have shown that workplace stress boosts heart woes, but this is the first to link job anxieties with recurrent heart attacks and other major events, the report's authors said.

The study, published in the Oct. 10 Journal of the American Medical Association, provides "very solid scientific evidence" on how job strain might contribute to coronary trouble, said Dr. Paul J. Rosch, president of the American Institute of Stress.

In their study, a group led by Dr. Corine Aboa-Eboule, professor of psychology at the Universite Laval in Quebec, gathered information on 972 men and women ages 35 to 59, all of whom had returned to work after a heart attack.

The participants were interviewed an average of six weeks after returning to work and were followed for an average of almost 6 years.

Job stress, or "strain" as the researchers called it, was defined as workplace environments with high psychological demands but low worker control of decisions made on the job.

During the follow-up period, 82 of the participants suffered unstable angina (chest pain), 111 had nonfatal heart attacks, and 13 had fatal heart attacks.

After adjusting for risk factors for heart disease, as well as lifestyle, sociodemographic and work-environment characteristics, workplace stress doubled the odds of such heart troubles, the team found.

One striking finding: There was no association between the social support workers got and their increase in heart risk, Rosch said. "The most powerful buffer we know against stress is strong social support," he said. However, "in this study, it did not have that effect, which is sort of counterint
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