The risk of suffering a heart attack increases by six times in the 24 hours following a high-pressure work deadline, researchers have warned.
Experts say that short-term intense stress has a greater impact on the heart than the build-up of tension over a year.
Researchers from the Karolinksa Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, came to this conclusion after studying the impact of stress on more than 3,500 people.
The research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, looked at the number of first-time heart attacks in healthy people aged 45-70 during the 1990s.
The team found that men were 80 per cent more likely to have a heart attack if they had experienced a conflict at work in the preceding 12 months, with the risk increasing even more if they felt strongly affected by it.
In women they found that a change in financial circumstances tripled the risk of a heart attack.
Taking on increased responsibilities at work, particularly when viewed negatively, meant women were three times as likely, and men six times as likely, to have a heart attack.