Can a Stressful Job Hurt Your Heart?

It’s true. According to a study conducted by researchers from University College London and published in the European Heart Journal, people with more stressful jobs have a higher risk of developing heart disease.

For 12 years, researchers monitored a group of British civil servants by gathering data related to their heart rates, blood pressure, and cortisol (stress hormone) blood levels.  Participants were asked about their jobs, diet, exercise, smoking and drinking habits.

Researchers found that participants who reported a high degree of stress, were 70 percent more likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who reported no stress. The effect held for men and women and was strongest for people under age 50.

Among people of retirement age, those with less exposure to work stress, the effect on coronary heart disease was less severe.

Researchers also noted that people with more stress reported having less time to eat healthy or exercise properly, which would increase their risk of heart disease. But the stress itself was also associated with biological factors that increased risk.

People who reported more stress also had higher levels of cortisol in their blood, even after awakening. This suggests that stress interferes with the body’s ability to properly regulate the neuroendocrine system, which releases hormones.

Long-term exposure to stress hormones will damage the body. Those reporting more stress also demonstrated poor functioning of the part of the nervous system which regulates the heart beat.

The British Heart Foundation welcomed the study results, and said it is vital for people to make the time to exercise. Being physically fit helps relieve stress and is one of the most important factors for reducing the risk of heart disease.

About the Author – Terry A. Rondberg, DC
Dr. Terry Rondberg is a chiropractic visionary who writes and speaks worldwide on the subject of wellness. He resides in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., where he enjoys running several businesses, pursuing yoga and martial arts, and spending time with his family.