Women with stressful jobs face a 40 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke or need surgery to open a blocked artery, a new study has found.
In addition, job insecurity, or fear of losing a job, was associated with risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, increased cholesterol and excess body weight, said the study unveiled Sunday at an American Heart Association meeting in Chicago.
However, these anxieties were not directly associated with heart attacks, stroke, invasive heart procedures or cardiovascular death, researchers said.
"Our study indicates that there are both immediate and long-term clinically documented cardiovascular health effects of job strain in women," said Michelle Albert, the study's senior author and associate physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston, Massachusetts.
"Your job can positively and negatively affect health, making it important to pay attention to the stresses of your job as part of your total health package." she added.
The study analyzed job strain in 17,415 healthy women who were primarily Caucasian health professionals aged 57. They were followed for more than 10 years to track the development of cardiovascular disease.
The 40 percent higher risks for women who reported high job strain included heart attacks, ischemic strokes, coronary artery bypass surgery or balloon angioplasty and death, the report said.
The increased risk of heart attack was about 88 percent, while the risk of bypass surgery or invasive procedure was about 43 percent.