Work Stress May Be Linked to Stroke
Having a high stress job may be linked to a higher risk of stroke, according to an analysis of several studies published in the online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
“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, MD, with Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China. “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.
Jobs were classified into four groups based on how much control workers had over their jobs and how hard they worked, or the psychological demands of the job.
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.
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.