Women who have a lot of stress at work appear to have a greater cardiovascular risk than those with lower-stress jobs, an analysis of the Women’s Health Study showed.
Both active jobs and those with a high level of strain were associated with a 38 percent greater relative risk of having a cardiovascular event through 10 years of follow-up, according to Michelle Albert, MD, MPH, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues.
High job strain, in particular, was associated with higher rates of nonfatal MI and coronary revascularization, the researchers reported online in PLoS One.
“With the increase of women in the workforce, these data emphasize the importance of addressing job strain in cardiovascular disease prevention efforts among working women,” they wrote.
Previous studies exploring the relationship between workplace stress and cardiovascular disease risk have yielded mixed results, although analyses of predominantly male populations have generally supported a link between job stress and incident cardiovascular events. The evidence has been less clear among women, however.
So, Albert and colleagues examined data from 22,086 women (mean age 57) participating in the Women’s Health Study, which randomized female health professionals to vitamin E or aspirin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Information on job-related stressors was collected in the fifth year of the study.
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