Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Work Stress and Hypertension

Many of us have always suspected that work stress contributes to the incidence of hypertension. In fact work stress is also one of those nebulous coronary risk factors. Last month the online journal of Hypertension published an article from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey.

They surveyed 24, 205 adults who worked at least 11 hours a week. They were asked how many hours they worked, and also simply "Have you been told by your doctor that you have hypertension "? They found that those who worked 40 hours or more a week had a increase in the incidence of hypertension and the highest incidence were in those who work more then 50 hours a week.

This, I must say, is expected. Perhaps what was not so expected was that those categorised as "clerical workers" and "unskilled workers" had a 23% and 50% increased incidence of hypertension when compared to those in the "professional category". I always thought that professionals have the highest work stress, and therefore the highest risk of hypertension. That dose seem not to be the case.

The message is clear, if you work too long hours, you are at risk of hypertension, and if you are down the work-chain of command, you are at the highest risk. I wish to see this survey duplicated, if possible in Europe and if possible also in Asia, because this findgings will have national economic implications. Prevention of hypertension is obviously better then cure.

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