The results of a ten year analysis of the impact of job stress on women’s heart health have today been reported. More than 22,000 female doctors and nurses were involved in the research that concluded work place and job stress significantly increases a woman’s risk of heart attacks stroke or risk of dying from heart disease.
Heart disease is one of the leading killers of both men and women in the developed world. Previous research has focused on how stress can affect a man’s heart health; this longitudinal study with a large sample size is therefore hugely welcomed within the medical field.
This latest study has found that during the ten year research period, women who reported high levels of job stress were around 60 percent more likely to have a heart attack compared with women in jobs with less pressure and strain. In addition, women in high-strain jobs were also around 40 percent more likely to need a heart procedure, for example, bypass surgery.
It is believed that high levels of job strain and pressure leads to an over activation of the body’s stress response, known as the fight or flight response. This leads to an increase in stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline in the blood, high blood pressure and insulin resistance all of which forces the heart to overwork.
Although stress is a normal part of life, it becomes a risk to health when it overpowers the body’s ability to overcome it and return to a state of calm or equilibrium after the stressful event or experience has passed.
Mindfulness meditation is a non-toxic, cost effective means of reducing the impact of stress on the human body specifically the heart. Mindfulness has been found to help individuals with hypertension. It has also been found to be an effective means of treating anxiety and depression which often arise as a result of stress.