High-Pressure Jobs Tied to Heart Disease Risk in Women

Study of Danish nurses finds significant association in younger women
By Lindsey Marcellin
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- Women in a high-pressure work environment have an increased risk of developing ischemic heart disease, according to research published in the May issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Karen Allesøe, Ph.D., of the Glostrup University Hospital in Denmark, and colleagues conducted a prospective study on the effect of work pressure and job influence on the development of ischemic heart disease. A total of 12,116 female participants of the Danish Nurse Cohort Study, aged 45 to 64 years, were administered an initial questionnaire in 1993 and followed up 15 years later.

The researchers found that nurses who had reported work-related pressure that was much too high had a 1.4-fold increased risk of incident ischemic heart disease compared to nurses who said their work-related pressure was suitable; this relationship tended toward a dose-response effect. After adjustment for age, the effect of work stress was significant only for those nurses younger than age 51 at baseline. The level of job influence was not associated with the development of ischemic heart disease.

"This study adds to the previous body of evidence suggesting harmful effects of excessive psychological demands at work on cardiac health, but is one among very few that demonstrates the effect among women. The results should be taken into account in primary prevention. Additional work should be carried out to identify factors contributing to the perceived high work pressure," the authors write.

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