Work stress and under-appreciation double men's risk of heart disease, study finds

17:58 19.09.2023

A new study suggests that male workers who feel under-appreciated and experience high levels of stress are at a significantly higher risk of developing potentially-deadly heart disease. The study, conducted by a team of Canadian researchers over a period of nearly two decades, focused on the effects of stress and "effort-reward imbalance" (ERI) on coronary collapse. The findings, published in the American Heart Association journal "Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes," revealed that men who struggled with either stress or ERI experienced a 49% increase in the risk of heart disease compared to those who did not report these stresses. Additionally, men who experienced both stress and ERI were found to be twice as likely to develop heart disease.

Lead study author Mathilde Lavigne-Robichaud emphasized the importance of understanding the relationship between work stressors and cardiovascular health, particularly given the significant amount of time people spend at work. Job strain, which refers to high job demands combined with low control over work, was identified as a significant factor contributing to heart disease risk. ERI, on the other hand, occurs when employees invest high effort into their work but perceive the rewards they receive as insufficient or unequal to their effort.

Heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack, occurs when blood flow to the heart is decreased. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease was responsible for approximately 695,000 deaths in 2021, accounting for 1 in 5 deaths. The study followed 6,465 white-collar workers, both men and women, for a total of 18 years. Stress and ERI levels were measured using validated questionnaires. While the study did not find a direct link between heart health and stressors in female participants, Lavigne-Robichaud highlighted the need for further investigation into the complex interplay of stressors and women's heart health.

The study's findings align with the negative impact that obesity can have on men's health. In fact, the study suggests that the health effects of job strain and ERI on heart disease risk are comparable to the effects of obesity. It should be noted, however, that the study's data was taken in Canada and may not fully reflect the diversity of the working population in the United States.

This study comes shortly after Novo Nordisk announced that its obesity drug, Wegovy, has been shown to have a clear cardiovascular benefit in a large study. According to the company, patients taking Wegovy had a 20% lower incidence of heart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease compared to those on a placebo.

Overall, the study highlights the pressing need to address stressful working conditions and create healthier work environments for the well-being of employees and employers alike. Reducing job strain and ensuring appropriate rewards for effort could have positive implications for both men and women's heart health and help address other prevalent health issues such as depression.

/ Tuesday, September 19, 2023, 5:58 PM /

themes:  Canada

All rights to the materials belong to the sources indicated under the heading of each news and their authors.