As President Ronald Reagan said "It's true, hard work never killed anybody, but why take the chance?" With many people working hard these days, it's becoming more common to see risks of heart disease popping up in stressed individuals. Not that it hasn't been a secret that increased stress levels can lead to high blood pressure, but work stress may be contributing to a slightly higher heart attack risk.
Recent research published in the journal Lancet shows that job strain can increase the risk of heart attack. With national unemployment at 8.1, many people are facing the pressure to perform on the job. There's nothing wrong with a little healthy competition and hard work, but let's not send our tickers into a tizzy.
This study was done over a 20 year span of time (1986-2006) and brought in data from 200,000 patients. The research found that people with highly demanding jobs and little freedom to make decisions are 23 percent more likely to have a heart attack. We can rest-assured that the risk of suffering from a heart attack due to job stress is relatively low (3.4%) compared to smoking (36%) and not exercising (12%). However, it is important to relax at the days end. The good news is that the increased risk for heart disease due to stress isn't as high as we originally thought.
What we found to be really interesting is the "fight or flight" instinct that takes over when we're stressed. It doesn't have to be job related - we have so much going on in our lives and people to take care of, that we begin to take on stresses we never thought we'd carry. It's important to remember that our stress levels affect us in many areas of our lives, be aware and find something that eases any stresses - like knitting!
What do YOU do to calm your nerves?
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