Friday, January 20, 2006

Stressful work linked to heart disease

People who suffer from chronic stress at work have an increased risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, according to a new study.

Men who held stressful jobs for 14 years were almost twice as likely to be obese, have insulin intolerance, high-blood pressure and high cholesterol than those not exposed to stress.

The mechanism underlying the relationship between work stress and metabolic syndrome remains unknown. The authors posit that the effects of stress on the autonomic nervous system, neuroendocrine activity, biological resilience, and adrenocortical function may be involved.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said people can protect against heart disease - even if they cannot give up work. He said: "The findings of this study support the BHF's view that regular exercise and a sensible diet should help to defend against developing heart disease, regardless of the stresses of their daily life."

If you have a stressful job, it's even more important to follow a healthy diet and regular exercise program. As evidenced in an earlier study of 15 obese men who had metabolic syndrome (and were placed on a high-fiber, low-fat diet in a 3-week residential program where food was provided and daily aerobic exercise was performed), 9 of the 15 were no longer positive for metabolic syndrome post-intervention. The researchers concluded that intensive lifestyle modification may improve coronary risk factors in men with metabolic syndrome factors.

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