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Work stress causes coronary heart disease

coronary heart disease hazard ratio of low-ranking white-collar workers of both sexes exposed to work stress, with the values of 1.33 for all ages, 1.68 for ages between 37 and 49, and 1.13 for ages between 50 and 60, all against a ratio of 1.00 for the same cohorts not exposed to stress"Work more to make more money" preaches the current French president. The admonition goes against the popular saying of decades ago, claiming that "If you spend your time working, no time is left to make money". Be it as it may, recent research tends to support the idea that, in the 21st century, work actually kills.

According to the results of a massive and decade-long British study, low-rank white-collar employees, particularly under the age of 50, have the highest rates of premature death. There is a clear correlation between lack of job control, high stress and frequency of cardiovascular diseases.

Work stress is associated with a working environment defined by:

The study not only establishes a causal relationship between job stress and CHD (coronary heart disease) occurrences, but also shows how chronic stress impacts health.

The lower hazard ratio among older employees, may be explained by the fact that a healthy worker survivor bias might attenuate the impact of work stress.

(Full report at European Heart Journal (2008) 29, 640-648 doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehm584, European Society of Cardiology.)

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