- Economic globalization may create stressful employment factors
in high-income countries contributing to the worldwide epidemic of
- Hypertension and
obesity which may lead to coronary artery disease and stroke are not the
"natural" results of aging, or of an aging population, but have
environmental and social causes.
- Stress, job strain,
effort-reward imbalance and the inability to cope at work may lead to
depression which is a major cause of heart disease.
- Stress can also
induce unhealthy eating habits, smoking, alcohol intake which increase the
chances of hypertension, heart disease.
Everyone feels stress or excessive pressure in
different ways and the way each
one handles stress
may or may not have an impact on
Stress is a term used to describe a state of mind where a task or relationship
or financial constraint is taxing or exceeding the ability of a person to
handle and endangering his or her well-being.
While some feel that stress, to a certain
extent brings out the best in them, for many it does do more harm than good. When
stress is excessive, it can cause everything from high blood
pressure, to asthma to ulcers to irritable bowel syndrome.
‘Psychological stressors at work place induce biologic responses like hypertension, depression and promote unhealthy behaviors, which increase the risk of heart disease.’
One of the recent health issues that is talked about
in relation to stress is, cardiovascular problems or
A recent study done at the University of
California, Irvine and SUNY Downstate Medical Center points out that economic
globalization may create stressful employment factors in high-income countries
contributing to the worldwide epidemic of cardiovascular disease (CVD)
The study strongly states that "CVD risk factors such as hypertension
and obesity which may lead
to coronary artery disease
and stroke are not the "natural" results
of aging, or of an aging population
have environmental and social causes."
is still considered a disease of "unknown
etiology" after more than 100 years of research, the American Kidney Foundation
acknowledges it to be the result of "lifestyle changes related to
industrialization and urbanization. So urbanization which brings change in the
diet, physical activity and work environment induces hypertension which is the
number 1 cause of heart disease.
How Does a Stressful Work Environment Cause
The transition from agricultural to industrial forms of production,
urbanization, and subsequent changes in the nature of work, living conditions,
diet, and physical activity stands out as the major reason for
Job strain and long
working hours which are considered the main work stressors are associated with
a moderately elevated risk of incident coronary heart disease and stroke.
Individuals who are exposed to such factors have 10-40 % risk of heart
disease compared with those free of such stressors.
Research in psychosocial epidemiology documents that psychosocial
stressors such as job strain and effort reward imbalance
are important pathways in the development of CVD, involving the
chronic activation of the stress response.
The Tokyo Declaration concluded, if existing
knowledge is effectively applied 80% of all CVD mortality is preventable and
that "according to research data 10%-20% of all causes of CVD deaths among
working age populations can be attributed to work, i.e. are work-related".
"We conclude from more
than 30 years of epidemiological research that CVD is a disease of modern
industrial society and not the natural result of aging," said Schnall, who is
with UCI's Center for Occupational and Environmental Health and a clinical
professor of medicine and public health. "It is related to forms of production
that emerged with industrialization and that have expanded with economic
globalization: long work hours, repetitive work, high demands, lack of control,
long hours, and job insecurity."
Stress may also affect behaviors and
factors like high blood pressure and cholesterol
levels, smoking, physical
overeating that increase heart disease risk. In order to manage chronic stress
some people may choose to drink too much alcohol or smoke cigarettes. These
habits can increase blood pressure and may damage artery walls.
Managing stress especially at work
can reduce the risk of heart disease and overall health. Though there is no sufficient
scientific evidence, a few studies have examined how well treatment or
therapies work in reducing the effects of stress on cardiovascular disease.
Studies using psychosocial therapies - involving both psychological and social
aspects - are promising in the prevention of second heart
Researchers emphasize a framework for the
primary prevention of CVD that focuses on "upstream" socioeconomic factors,
including the need to transform the work environment to reduce unhealthy
working conditions that directly and indirectly contribute to CVD and its risk
- Stress and Heart Health - (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/StressManagement/HowDoesStressAffectYou/Stress-and-Heart-Health_UCM_437370_Article.jsp#.V-DCRfl97IU)
- Definitions of Stress - (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2560943/pdf/occpaper00115-0007.pdf)
- Understanding and Managing Stress - (https://www.psychology.org.au/Assets/Files/StressTipSheet.pdf)