Researchers say stroke risk tied to work stress

By Jesef Williams • Published: February 12th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Don’t let work become too overwhelming. Apparently, high job stress greatly increases the risk for stroke.

Researchers in China analyzed six previously published studies that, in total, followed nearly 140,000 people for up to 17 years. People from several nationalities were included in the studies.

The researchers found that those with high-stress occupations had a 22 percent higher risk of stroke than people with low-stress occupations. Among women, the increased risk was even greater at 33 percent.

This latest study was conducted in part at Southern Medical University, which is in the Chinese city of Guangzhou. The findings were published in October in the journal Neurology.

The researchers grouped the participants’ jobs into four categories based on how much control they had over their work, how hard they worked and the job’s psychological demands. Job factors included deadline pressure and various mental demands.

The four categories were passive jobs, low-stress jobs, high-stress jobs and active jobs. The study found that people in high-stress jobs, like nurses and waitresses, were 58 percent more likely to have a stroke caused by a blood clot than those with low-stress jobs, such as scientists and architects.

On the other hand, participants with active jobs, such as doctors and engineers, did not have an increased risk of stroke. The same seemed true for people with passive jobs, such as janitors.

It should be pointed out that the study only illustrated a correlation and did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship. However, health experts suggest finding ways to gain more control at work, such as adjusting your hours or shifting duties.

If you feel overburdened, take heed. Making a few changes at work can lead to a happier and healthier you.