Stressful Jobs Aren’t Necessarily Killing Us
12 August 2013 at 10:52 am
An update to a report on psychological risk factors of coronary heart disease has busted the myth that work stress increased the onset of heart attacks.
In the update to the Heart Foundation’s 2003 consensus statement: Psychological risk factors for coronary heart disease, lead author Nick Glozier has busted the popular myth: that chronic job stress sharply increases the likelihood of having a heart attack.
“Contrary to popular belief, the effect of job stress on heart disease is limited,” he said.
“This is good news – our jobs are not necessarily killing us.
“If anything, what we really need to focus on is what we can control; that is, standard heart disease risks such as higher blood pressure and smoking, tackled through better workplace programs.
“From the evidence review, of greater concern is for heart attack survivors living alone.
“Social isolation and lack of quality support can lead to another attack in situations where no friends of relatives would be aware until it’s too late.
“Measures to reduce social isolation among heart attack survivors could have positive psychological effects but we don’t yet know if they improve heart disease outcomes.”
Heart attack survivors who live alone and people exposed to extreme stress from events such as natural disasters or sporting events are at greater risk of heart attack, the position paper from the National Heart Foundation of Australia revealed.
Sudden emotional stress, such as the death of a loved one, may also trigger heart attacks, sudden cardiac death or so-called Takotsubo or stress cardiomyopathy, commonly known as broken heart syndrome.
The Heart Foundation study also found the potential for increased cardiovascular risk among populations exposed to natural disasters and other conditions of extreme stress, such as tense sporting events.
Chief Medical Adviser at the Heart Foundation Professor James Tatoulis said awareness of the potential for increased cardiovascular risk among populations exposed to natural disasters and other conditions of extreme stress may be useful for emergency services response planning.
“Wider public access to defibrillators should be made available where large populations gather, such as sporting venues, and as part of the response to natural and other disasters,” he said.
The Foundation reminded individuals to know the warning signs of a heart attack which may include pain, pressure, heaviness or tightness in one or more parts of the upper body (chest, neck, jaw, arm, shoulder or back) combined with other symptoms of nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness or a cold sweat.
For more information check out: www.heartattackfacts.org.au