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Cardiovascular Health

 

Job stress 'doubles' your risk of stroke

Reported January 14, 2009


Fukuoka, Japan, January 14: Men in highly stressful jobs are twice more likely to suffer stroke, as opposed to those having a lesser stressful job, a new Japanese study warns. Conversely, women working under the same pressure conditions, as men, do not stand a similar risk of stroke, it adds.

The 11 year study conducted by the researchers at the Japan’s University of Occupational and Environmental Health enrolled 6,533 volunteers (3,190 men and 3,363 women) aged 65 and younger.

Coming from varied occupational backgrounds - managers, professionals, technicians, clerks, salespeople, craftsmen, farmers and laborers – they were grouped into 4 categories depending upon the demands of the job and the amount of control they could exercise.

While the 'low job demand and high job control' combination was ranked as the least strenuous, the 'high job demand and low job control' was highly stressful.

Volunteers were first interviewed between 1992 and 1995 followed by close monitoring over the course of next 11 years.

During follow-up sessions, 147 strokes were reported - 91 men and 56 women.

After taking into account, factors like age, smoking status, alcohol consumption and activity regimen – all known to play a crucial role in stroke – men with 'high strain' jobs were twice more likely to suffer stroke.

"The job demand-control model is most often used occupational stress model. It posits that workers who face high psychological demands in their occupation and have little control over their work (i.e. those who have job strain) are at a greater risk of becoming ill than the workers with low psychological demands and a high degree of control in their occupation (i.e. those with low-strain occupations)", study’s lead author, Dr Akizumi Tsutsumi, MD, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Fukuoka, Japan, wrote.

Although stress has the strongest impact on otherwise healthy workers, women fared better than men, but intra-sexually they too, like men, were more bogged by high strain jobs.

While the exact logic explaining the difference between the sexes was not clear, researchers believe the completely different approach to stressful jobs could be the driver. Also, more women as compared to men are employed part-time.

Source : Archives of Internal Medicine, a JAMA journal.