Long-term work stress is a
major cause of heart attacks, according to the findings of a wide-ranging
A poll of 29,000 people
in 52 countries – half of whom had experienced a heart attack – found that
‘psychosocial factors’, including work and home stress, increased the risk of a
heart attack by two-and-a-half times.
professor of cardiology at Goteborg
who led the project, told medical journal the Lancet: “Persistent severe stress
makes it two-and-a-half times more likely that an individual will have a heart
attack compared with someone who is not stressed.”
Long-term work stress had the
most dramatic effect, the research team found.
Of those still working who had
suffered a heart attack, 23 per cent said they had experienced several periods
of work stress compared with 17.9 per cent of a control group that hadn’t
suffered a heart attack.
In the heart attack group, 10
per cent said they had experienced permanent work stress during the previous
year, compared to 5 per cent in the control group.
Separate research from the
Health and Safety Executive (HSE), published last week, revealed that
work-related stress costs employers approximately £3.7bn a year.
There is an average of 92,000
new cases occurring each year in the UK, and reportedly up to 13.4 million days
are lost each year due to stress at work, the HSE said.