Workplace stress found by study to increase chances of developing asthma

Stress put on people in the work place, particularly on those who are fearful of losing their jobs, can increase the risk of developing adulthood asthma, according to a new study.

An international team of researchers checked data from more than 7,000 people and after adjusting for factors like smoking and being overweight, found that work place stress can raise the risk of developing asthma.

Asthma is one of the most common long term breathing conditions which can cause anything from coughing to wheezing to being unable to breath. It is caused by sensitivity and inflammation of air tubes, called bronchi, in the lungs.

Stress has been found to have certain effects on the body’s inflammation system in the past, so it seems that there could well be a biological link here.

“This study has shown for the first time that perceived job insecurity during the recent economic crisis may increase the risk of new-onset asthma,” the study summed up, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

This is bad news for those in jobs with high insecurity, such as those working flexible contracts, or those in companies that are downsizing. Apparently, risk of developing asthma rose by 24 per cent for every 25 per cent rise in the perceived probability of job loss.

This will have the knock on effect on the NHS as numbers of adults with asthma are likely to increase. It is reported to currently cost the NHS £1bn per year to treat, and the increase of work place stress may increase this.

The data analysed was gathered from the German Socio-Economic Panel for the period 2009-2011, so the data followed the economic downturn in Europe in 2008.

Stress is very commonly associated with the work place, and this study highlights the impact it can have on people’s health. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you are suffering, or see about enrolling on one of the many available mindfulness courses to help you combat stress.

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