Work stress may increase stroke risk

Work got you stressed out? New research suggests that stressing on the job may increase your odds of suffering a stroke.

The findings come from an analysis of six previous studies that included over 138,000 people, according to the American Academy of Neurology. Researchers took a variety of factors into account, such as work demands, time pressure and more. From there, they teased out the specifics.

It turns out that people who held high-stress positions were 22 percent more likely to experience a stroke. What’s more is that women in high-stress positions were 33 percent more likely to suffer a stroke than women in low-stress positions.

Work stress was broken down as follows:

  • Passive jobs: low demands and low control (ex. manual laborers and janitors)
  • Low-stress jobs: low demands and high control (ex. architects and scientists)
  • Active jobs: high demands and high control (ex. engineers and teachers)
  • High-stress jobs: high demands and low control (ex. nurses and waitresses)

“Having a lot of job stress has been linked to heart disease, but studies on job stress and stroke have shown inconsistent results,” Dingli Xu, M.D. of Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China said in an AAN press release. “It’s possible that high stress jobs lead to more unhealthy behaviors, such as poor eating habits, smoking and a lack of exercise.”

According to the statement, increasing job control and workplace flexibility could have a major public health impact.

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