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Work pressure increases heart disease risk among women

05/20/2010 - Articles

Work pressure increases heart disease risk among women

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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Work pressure and lack of control over your work are known to be risk factors for heart disease. But previous research on the impact of work pressure on health has been confined to men. Researchers in Denmark now report on the effect of work pressure and control over work on the heart health of 12,116 nurses taking part in the Danish Nurse Cohort Study. The women were all aged between 45 and 64 in 1993 when they were asked about work pressure and the degree of control they felt they had over their work. Their health was then tracked for the next 15 years.

By 2008, 580 of the participants had been admitted to hospital with heart disease. There were 369 cases of angina and 138 heart attacks. The nurses reporting mildly excessive work pressure had a 25% higher risk of heart disease and those experiencing excessive work pressure had a 50% increased risk compared to those who felt their work pressure to be manageable. Lack of control over work did not seem to exert any influence on heart health. The effect of work pressure on heart health was only significant for nurses aged under 51. It may be that other risk factors become more significant among older women – as rates of heart disease in women do go up after menopause. The findings underline the importance of workplaces having decent stress policies in place to help people deal with work pressure. And people need to find their own ways of dealing with work pressure so that the negative impacts do not catch up with them later in life.

 

Source:

Allesøe K et al Psychosocial work environment and the risk of ischaemic heart disease in women: the Danish Nurse Cohort Study Occupational and Environmental Medicine May 2010;67:318-322

 

Created on: 05/20/2010
Reviewed on: 05/20/2010

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