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Stressed to Death?

Stressed out at work? Many of us are, but did you know that besides raw nerves, stress can lead to cardiovascular disease? A recent study in the British Medical Journal highlighted the importance of being relaxed at, and satisfied with, your work environment.

To determine the possible link between work stress and risk of death from cardiovascular disease, approximately 800 employees at factories in Finland were evaluated for job strains, salaries and job demands in 1973, and followed for the next 25 years to record deaths from cardiovascular disease. Participants' jobs ranged from heavy foundry work and precision engineering positions to clerical and administrative jobs.

Employees with high job strain, based on responses to a questionnaire designed to evaluate job pressures, were more than twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease as those with low job strain. Also, employees who felt they had a lower salary or fewer career opportunities relative to the amount of effort they put into their work were approximately 2.5 times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease. Those with high job strain had significantly increased blood cholesterol levels as well.

Cardiovascular disease is the number-one cause of death today. This study shows that having a low-stress job is one way to help prevent it. In addition to promoting your cardiovascular health through not smoking; drinking alcohol only in moderation; eating a low-fat diet; and exercising, tackling other major sources of stress in your life may also need to be addressed. Talk to your doctor of chiropractic about various forms of stress reduction.


Kivimäki M, Leino-Arjas P, et al. Work stress and risk of cardiovascular mortality: Prospective cohort study of industrial employees. British Medical Journal 2002:325, pp. 857-861.

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