Workplace stress can lead directly to heart disease, a groundbreaking study has found.
Employees under chronic stress in their job have a 68% higher risk of developing the killer illness, University College London research concluded.
Doctors studied 10,308 civil servants for 23 years before proving that stress at work activates physical changes in the body that led to heart disease.
It was previously thought that stress led to an unhealthy lifestyle, which in turn often caused heart disease.
But Dr Chandola, a senior lecturer at the university, said: “Adjusting for health behaviours did not change the association between work stress and low heart rate variability, suggesting a direct effect on the automatic nervous system and neuroendocrine function, which in turn affects the signals to the heart, leading to cardiac instability.”
The link between workplace stress and heart disease was found to be stronger in the under-50s.