Some jobs harder on the heart than others, report finds

August 1, 2014 by Steven Reinberg, Healthday Reporter
Some jobs harder on the heart than others, report finds
But having to search for work may be just as stressful, unhealthy, researchers add.

(HealthDay)—Stress at work may raise your risk of heart attack and stroke, particularly if you work in the service industry or have a blue-collar job, U.S. health officials reported Thursday.

But being unemployed might be just as unhealthy, they added.

"Workplace factors that increase risk include job stress, exposure to air pollution—like dust and secondhand smoke—and noise," explained lead researcher Dr. Sara Luckhaupt, from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"These workers would benefit from that combine reducing occupational like job stress with promotion activities like smoking cessation," she said.

Some workers may already have other risk factors for stroke and , such as and cholesterol, which can be made worse by workplace stresses, Luckhaupt explained. In fact, the researchers found that 1.9 percent of workers under 55 reported a history of and stroke.

"It's probably a combination of personal and work factors," she said.

"Don't forget the job factors," Luckhaupt said. "The noise, the air pollution and job stress could be contributing to the personal risk factors, like difficulty quitting smoking."

Unemployed workers, however, weren't spared, she noted. Among unemployed people looking for work, the rate of heart attack and stroke was also high—2.5 percent.

"It may be that the stress of unemployment and the lack of access to health care may be contributing to their health problems," she said.

However, whether these workers have health problems because they are unemployed or if they are unemployed because of isn't known, Luckhaupt said. While the report found an association between employment stress and heart health, it did not prove a cause-and-effect link.

For the study, published in the Aug 1 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the researchers compiled data from the 2008-2012 National Health Interview Survey.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said, "There is increasing interest in workplace-based disease prevention, health promotion and wellness programs as a means of improving health."

As heart disease and stroke remain the leading causes of death in men and women in the United States, prevention strategies and workplace health programs are essential, he said.

"Health professionals, employers and workers should take proactive steps to improve their heart health, implement and take advantage of comprehensive workplace wellness programs and better utilize effective interventions to prevent heart disease and stroke," he said.

Explore further: Many U.S. workers sleep-Deprived: CDC

More information: Visit the American Heart Association for more on stress and heart health.

Related Stories

Many U.S. workers sleep-Deprived: CDC

April 26, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Many American workers get fewer than six hours of sleep each night, putting themselves and their co-workers at risk for serious and sometimes deadly consequences, federal health officials said Thursday.

Stroke prevention for women: start early

June 17, 2014

(HealthDay)—Stroke typically affects women in their later years, but doctors are now beginning to focus on helping them cut their risk earlier in life.

Hispanic Americans need culturally tailored heart care

July 14, 2014

A first-time comprehensive overview of cardiovascular disease among Hispanics in the U.S. outlines the burden of heart disease and stroke as well as emphasizes the importance of culturally appropriate healthcare for this ...

Recommended for you

Artificial heart design features porous plastic foam

October 2, 2015

Artificial hearts with multiple moving parts increase the chance of failure; scientists have worked up a device which is a single piece. No less interesting is the material they used; the team is taking a page out of soft ...

What powers the pumping heart?

September 25, 2015

Researchers at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research have uncovered a treasure trove of proteins, which hold answers about how our heart pumps—a phenomenon known as contractility.

Sticky gel helps stem cells heal rat hearts

September 24, 2015

A sticky, protein-rich gel created by Johns Hopkins researchers appears to help stem cells stay on or in rat hearts and restore their metabolism after transplantation, improving cardiac function after simulated heart attacks, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.