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Job strain linked to Heart disease: Learn Natural Ways to Reduce Stress

A recent study has associated high levels of job strain to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The findings of a research study submitted to the Scientific Sessions 2010 of the American Heart Association revealed that women who conveyed having higher levels of job strain possess a 40 percent higher risk for the development of heart diseases such as heart attack.  Their risk of undergoing surgical procedures in order to unblock clogged arteries is also higher. This is in contrast to women who reported to have lower levels of job strain. Furthermore, researchers said that insecurity in one’s job, or the dread of losing a job, was linked to cardiovascular diseases risk factors which include being overweight, increased cholesterol levels and being hypertensive (high blood pressure).  However, they emphasized that it does not have a direct association with cardiovascular death, invasive procedures performed on the heart, stroke and heart attacks.

Job strain is a psychological stressor wherein a person is said to have an unusually demanding job but that does not give her the authority to make decisions, or does not provide opportunities for her to showcase her creativity and skills.

According to the senior author of the study, Dr. Michelle A. Albert, M.P.H, the results of the study shows that there exists clinically documented immediate, as well as long term, consequences of job strain to a person’s heart health, especially in women. She stated that a person’s job as the capability to negatively or positively affect health.  Therefore, people should start paying more attention to the pressures of their job and make it a part of their complete health package.  Dr. Albert is also an associate physician at Boston, Massachusetts’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

17,415 women took part in the momentous Women’s Health Study where researchers did an analysis on job strain.  The women who provided information were healthy health professionals, had a mean age of 57 years and primarily of Caucasian descent. Information regarding their job insecurity, job strain and risk factors of heart disease were asked from them.  A 10-year monitoring period was imposed in order to determine the occurrence of heart disease.  Utilizing standard questionnaire, the researchers assessed job insecurity and job strain.

For women who conveyed high job strain, there was a 40 percent higher risk for balloon angioplasty, coronary artery bypass surgery, ischemic strokes, heart attacks and death. The increased in the risk of a heart attack was up by 88 percent, and a 43 percent risk of invasive procedure or bypass surgery was seen.

Women who were in jobs that gave them low control and high demands had greater risk for developing cardiovascular disease long term.  The same is true for women with jobs that have a high sense of control and with high demands.  This is according to Natalie Slopen, Sc.D.  She is the head researcher as well as a fellow of postdoctoral research of Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child located in Boston.

Earlier research studies regarding job strain and its effects have been concentrated on men and cardiovascular conditions were somewhat restricted.  Dr. Albert said that it is important for employers, hospital and government entities, and potential patients to keep track of apparent job strain in employees and to begin programs that helps ease job strain and maybe positively impact cardiovascular diseases prevention.

What is Stress?

Stress is a fact of life.  These are external forces that affect the individual and she responds in different ways that ultimately affects her and her environment.  There is a relationship between the person and all that surrounds her – nature, work, family, friends, etc. Examples of external factors include:

  • Day-to-day circumstances
  • Difficult times
  • Everyday challenges
  • Home life
  • Relationship with other people
  • Job
  • Physical Environment

But there are internal factors too, and these can determine the body’s capability to deal with, and respond to, external stressors.  This would encompass:

  • Quality of rest and sleep
  • Emotional well-being
  • Fitness level
  • General health
  • Nutritional status

The Dangers of Stress

Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a psychologist, and Ronald Glaser, an immunologist and virologist, both from the Ohio State University, conducted a study as to the effects of stress in a person’s immune system. They discovered that stress suppresses the function of the immune system, making the person more prone to infections. Their study revealed that stress triggered the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, substances that initiate inflammatory reactions.  Once it becomes chronic, it seriously disrupts the body’s capability to heal wounds and fight infection – and it increases a person’s risk for developing various conditions such as type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease, among others.

Natural Ways to Reduce Stress

  • Set aside a time for peace and quiet, preferably in the morning.  You may choose to do yoga, to meditate, or to pray – basically anything that would allow you to find a place of solitude, even for just a few minutes a day.  This will help you attain the right frame of mind in order to go through another stress-filled day.
  • Exercise can give you a boost and reduce stress.  It releases endorphins – feel good hormones – which would help alleviate stress.
  • Reduce your intake of alcohol, caffeine, carbohydrates and sugar.  Too many carbohydrates will overload your body with sugar.  This depletes vitamin B in our bodies, which is important in maintaining the health of the nervous system.
  • Make use of herbs to calm yourself.  A cup of chamomile tea before bedtime will help you relax; ginseng has been known to enhance the body’s resistance to stress.

30 Stress Relievers

  1. Wake up early
  2. Wear comfortable clothes
  3. Write things down
  4. Choose your friends – avoid negative people
  5. Make copies of important documents
  6. Have a spare key
  7. Learn to say “no”
  8. Be generous with praise, even to yourself
  9. Listen more, talk less
  10. Get enough sleep
  11. Remember that you always have a choice
  12. Smile more often
  13. Develop a good sense of humour
  14. Strive for excellence, but not perfection
  15. Have a good support system
  16. Do something new
  17. Say goodbye to a bad habit
  18. Read
  19. Set goals
  20. Believe in yourself
  21. Have faith in the goodness of other people
  22. Recognize that you cannot do everything by yourself – ask for help
  23. Accept help
  24. Make good use of your time
  25. Apologize
  26. Ask for directions
  27. Keep in mind that it’s okay to cry sometimes
  28. Spend time with children
  29. Pay your bills on time
  30. Breathe

Sources
eurekalert.org
medicinenet.co
scientificamerican.com

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  4. Air Pollution Increases Risk of Heart Disease in Women, Study Finds
  5. Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Expecting Mothers Linked to Heart Defects In Newborns, Study Says
  


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