Stressed at work? A new research has suggested that it can increase your risk of having a stroke.
Having a lot of job stress has been linked to heart disease, but studies on job stress and stroke have shown inconsistent results, said Dingli Xu from Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, adding that it’s possible that high stress jobs lead to more unhealthy behaviors, such as poor eating habits, smoking and a lack of exercise.
The analysis looked at all of the available research on job strain and stroke risk. The six studies analyzed involved a total of 138,782 participants who were followed for three to 17 years.
The analysis found that people with high stress jobs had a 22 percent higher risk of stroke than those with low stress jobs. Women with high stress jobs had a 33 percent higher risk of stroke than women with low stress jobs.
People with high stress jobs were 58 percent more likely to have an ischemic stroke than those with low stress jobs. Ischemic stroke, which is the most common type of stroke, is caused by blockage of blood flow. People in passive and active jobs did not have any increased risk of stroke.The researchers calculated that 4.4 percent of the stroke risk was due to the high stress jobs. For women, that number increased to 6.5 percent.
Based on this study, it is reasonable to consider testing interventions aimed at increasing job control, such as decentralization of decision-making and flexibility in job structure, such as telecommuting. If effective, such workplace changes could have a major public health impact, said researcher Jennifer J. Majersik.
Xu said limitations of the research were that job stress was measured at only one point in time and that other factors, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, were not adequately adjusted for in the original studies.
The study is published in Neurology.