How Your Job May Be Setting You Up for Heart Trouble
The Japanese “salary man” is legendary. Devoted to his employer, he works long hours, often sacrificing his outside social life for company functions – both formal and informal.
But there’s one country where the people work even longer hours, take less vacation time and retire later. Yes… it’s right here in the USA. Overall, Americans work longer, with less time off, and stay at their jobs years beyond workers in any other industrialized nation.
And a new study shows it may be taking a frightening toll on your health.
We’ve known for years that job stress has an impact on health. A 2006 British study painted a vivid picture.
Researchers at London’s University College followed more than 10,000 civil service workers for 14 years. Those with high-stress jobs were far more likely to develop…
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
- Dangerously large waistlines
- High triglycerides
- Low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol
In fact, having a high-stress job more than doubled the chances workers would develop at least three of these problems.1 And that was after adjusting for variables such as age and health at the start of the study.
But a new study from Israel takes job stress a frightening step further. According to this study, if you suffer job burnout, your chances of serious heart trouble go up by more than 40%. And the risk among the study’s volunteers with the highest stress levels shot up by a whopping 79%!2
In other words, working long hours and skipping vacations may boost job security… but it also boosts the chances you won’t be able to enjoy your retirement. When you finally get there.
The Tel Aviv University study looked at 8,838 healthy workers, aged 19 to 67. The follow-up period was fairly short – only about 3-1/2 years on average.
But even in that time, a clear pattern emerged. The greater the “burnout” effect, the higher the risk of heart trouble.
So how do you know if you’re getting burned out? And – more importantly – what can you do about it?
Job burnout often involves a lack of energy and productivity, plus…
- Developing a negative attitude towards your work
- Dissatisfaction or disillusionment
- Being unmotivated to go to work or to get started on the job
- Impatience and bad temper – especially on the job
These signs may also affect your life outside of work… along with inexplicable aches and pains, changes in your appetite and sleeping patterns and even turning to food or alcohol as an escape.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can fight back.
Getting enough sleep is a good place to start. (You’ll find several helpful articles in the Journal of Healthy Living archives.) Nutritional supplements that help fight stress – such as Siberian ginseng and lavender – can also help.
Moving more is another sure-fire way to lower your stress levels. Yoga and Tai Chi are excellent ways to boost both your emotional and physical health. But any physical activity you enjoy is good.
Finally, address the problems at work. Take your lunch breaks – away from your work area. Outside the building is even better, if it’s possible. Limit your overtime. And take the vacation days you’re due… without your cell phone and laptop.
You may even be able to work with your supervisor or human resources department to ease work conditions that cause stress. Most companies realize healthy employees are more productive. And far better for the bottom line.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Chandola,T., et al, “Chronic stress at work and the metabolic syndrome: prospective study,” BMJ. Mar 4, 2006; 332(7540): 521-525.
2 Toker, S., et al, “Burnout and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Prospective Study of 8838 Employees,” Psychosomatic Medicine. Oct 2012; 74(8): 840-847.