Women with high stress jobs have a 67 percent greater cardiovascular risk than women in lower-stress jobs, according to a just-released study in the journal PLOS One.
Additionally, researchers concluded that women who had jobs that were both active and high-strain were at 38 percent greater risk of having some kind of cardiovascular “event” – such as a heart attack or stroke – than their lower-level counterparts.
Some 22,000 female health professionals participating in the Women’s Health Study were tracked over a 10-year period by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Yale University School of Medicine. Based on self-reported characteristics, they found that women with both high-stress and active jobs were at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Those with both high stress jobs and job insecurity showed “significantly” more risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Researchers concluded that “with the increase of women in the workforce, these data emphasize the importance of addressing job strain in CVD prevention efforts among working women.” THis confirmed previous research that showed a link between stress and health, but that having control over one’s job was less significant than previously reported, according to MyHealthNews.
Symptoms of a heart attack are different for women than for men, so it is important that women be aware of risk factors for cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, “more women die of cardiovascular disease than from the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. But 80 percent of cardiac events in women could be prevented if women made the right choices for their hearts involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking.”
Medicine Net author Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD said that both internal and external factors from the physical environment to nutritional status impact stress and the body’s ability to cope. Proven stress management techniques include exercise, relaxation and meditation, biofeedback, imagery, martial arts such as Tai Chi. Improving time management and organizational skills will also help to reduce stress, as will a stress-busting diet, getting plenty of rest, having a good support system and spending time with loved ones.