Stress increases the risk for heart disease
The fact that stress affects health is a well-known. We already know that stress can lead to serious short or long-term health problems (heart disease, diabetes, depression, hair loss etc.). Now an European meta-analysis published in The Lancet, showed that patients undergoing stress at work have a higher risk of heart attack than others.
Mika KivimÃ¤ki from University College London, the lead of the study, wanted to clarify that the link between stress and coronary heart disease was made on the basis of published and unpublished reasearch. In addition, KivimÃ¤ki said that people under stress at work have a higher risk of heart attack as the first manifestation of coronary artery disease.
This research was done in collaboration with multiple centers in Europe, such as Denmark, Belgium, Finland, France, Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK. The study included nearly 200,000 patients who completed questionnaires on stress at work, the number of tasks they have to fulfill, the level of pression, freedom to make decisions etc. They were followed for a period of 7.5 years. The finding is not surprising because during the 7 years of follow-up there were over 2300 coronary heart disease or heart attack. Study participants who reported being stressed work had a 23% higher risk of heart attack as the first manifestation of coronary heart disease. Moreover, the risk remained the same even after there have been taken into account demographic characteristics such as age, gender, financial status.
The results of this meta-analysis draws red flags because cardiovascular disease is one of the most common diseases of the modern world. In addition, researchers believe that the risk of coronary heart disease may increase due to job insecurity and economic crisis.
Work stress is associated not only with heart disease but also with other conditions such as diabetes, depression, obesity, sexual dysfunction, hyperthyroidism, cancer and others. Stress triggers a series of changes designed to help the body cope with difficult situations. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal gland to release adrenaline and noradrenaline. These neurotransmitters are part of the fight or flight response, which gives the body energy and power. Also, another hormone that ia associated with stress is cortisol, which is released by the adrenal gland. This hormone boost all catabolic processes in the body but also increases the blood sugar. It is not uncommon for a person to be diagnosed with diabetes during a stressful event at work or family.