Stressed at work? it might be bad for your heart

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A new study shows that men who find their jobs stressful are more likely to have heart issues.

The kind of stress that matters here is when men feel like they’re working really hard but not getting much back in return, like a good salary or a sense of achievement.

The study said these men are twice as likely to have heart problems compared to men who don’t feel this way at work.

The study compared this to how being overweight can also raise the risk of heart problems. For women, though, the study didn’t have clear answers about whether job stress affects their hearts.

How the Study Worked

Researchers in Canada asked about 6,500 people with office jobs to take part.

The group included men and women around 45 years old who didn’t have any known heart problems. They kept an eye on these people for 18 years, from 2000 to 2018.

The study wanted to know two things. First, how demanding is your job? Do you have a lot of work and deadlines but little say in what happens? That’s what they called “job strain.”

Second, do you feel like you’re putting in a lot of effort but not getting enough back? That’s the “effort-reward imbalance.”

After nearly two decades, the researchers checked who among these people had heart issues.

They found out that men who felt either job strain or an effort-reward imbalance were 49% more likely to have heart problems. And for men who felt both, the risk doubled.

Why This Matters and What We Can Do

The study’s lead author, Mathilde Lavigne-Robichaud, said we need to pay more attention to how work affects our health.

Since a lot of people spend a big chunk of their lives at work, it’s crucial to know how job stress could be affecting their hearts.

She also said that changing the work environment to reduce stress could benefit everyone, men and women alike.

Some changes could be pretty straightforward: letting employees have more say in their work, offering resources for stress management, or improving work-life balance.

Even though the study mainly looked at people with office jobs in Canada, the findings could also apply to similar jobs in the United States and other wealthy countries.

Limitations and Next Steps

The study isn’t perfect. For example, it mostly focused on white-collar workers in Quebec, so it might not cover everyone. Also, it couldn’t clearly say how job stress might affect women’s hearts, which means more research is needed.

But the big takeaway is this: the way we feel at work can seriously impact our health.

Employers and employees should work together to make the office a less stressful place. Doing so is not just good for morale; it could be a matter of life and heart.

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The research findings can be found in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

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