Work stress triggers heart disease

Cardiovascular disease could be triggered by workplace stress, new research has suggested. Published in the journals Brain, Behavior and Immunity and Psychosomatic Medicine, the study found such conditions can be set off via an inflammatory response in the body caused by stressful situations in the office.

Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen looked at the results of the population-based cohort study MONICA/KORA, which involved more than 950 people.

It was shown that significantly elevated inflammatory parameters were displayed by healthy individuals exposed to stress at work, while these people also are at twice the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Dr Rebecca Emeny, first author of the report, said the findings "form important starting points for finding preventive measures that will protect against stress-related diseases such as coronary heart disease".

The research also revealed psychological strain and stress had been experienced by more than half of the participants while carrying out their duties at work.

Chartered Psychologist Dr Christine A. Sprigg said: 

"It is very good to see more research making these links between work-related stress and physical health outcomes. This all adds to the evidence base that work-related stress has to be taken seriously by employers and policy-makers alike. It is something we, as work psychologists, need to continue to understand and intervene on within workplaces; especially in these very difficult times at work for many people"