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Men Likely to Die Prematurely Due to Stress from Work, Study Shows


Stress is bad for health, we all know this already. It can make you sleepless at night, fray your nerves, cause overeating and trigger a host of health complications such as depression and heart disease. The American Institute of Stress has already determined that chronic stress from increased pressure at work can put your mental and physical health in jeopardy, now a new study is saying the men are at a greater risk of dying early than their female counterparts due to work stress.

Link Between Stress and Premature Death

Stress can have enormous impact on health, but a recent research shows that it can affect men and women differently depending on their current health condition. Researchers discovered that male workers with a history of stroke, heart disease and diabetes were at 68 per cent increased risk of dying during the course of the experiment if they held stressful jobs with heavy workload. The findings of the experiment were released after 14 years of the observational study during which doctors constantly monitored the participants’ stress level at work and matched it with their health condition.

Doctors also stress that people with existing health conditions should also be offered early retirement to combat their chances of premature death

The purpose of the study was to highlight the role of workplace in employees’ wellbeing and how organizations should help men who are more vulnerable to work stress by modifying their jobs, decreasing workload and offering better healthcare benefits.

14-Year-Long Experiment

Although there is a large number of researches conducted in the past which show the impact of stress on mental and physical health, the recent study is the first investigation into the effects of job stress on men who already suffer from cardiometabolic disease. A professor of Heart Foundation at University College London said that companies need to pay more attention to their employees’ health and modify jobs accordingly. There are people with pre-existing diseases which makes it difficult for them to cope with work stress.

The researchers conducted a major experiment with 100,000 participants across various European countries including Finland, UK, France and Sweden. The study included people with and with pre-existing cardiometabolic conditions. Participants were questioned about their lifestyle, health and work at the beginning of the research and by the end of the 14-year period, almost 4,000 participants had died.

Stress as Harmful as Smoking

The researchers divided the participants into two groups depending on their work stress. The first group faced severe job strain from demanding workload, excessive demands from the employer and very little autonomy. The second group had people who suffered from ‘effort-reward imbalance’, meaning that they worked hard at work but earned very little reward for it

Even after factors such as smoking, exercise, high blood pressure and obesity were taken into consideration, the group of participants that faced greater job strain was 68 per cent more likely to die a premature death than those with effort-reward imbalance. Even when the participants controlled their diet, managed their blood pressure and increased cardiovascular activity, the risk of premature death remained.

The second group of participants who suffered from effort-reward imbalance did not show an increased risk of premature death because they were more likely to shorten their working hours and accepting fewer rewards.

Importance of Work-Life Balance

The results of the research showed that for men who were already suffering from cardiometabolic conditions, stress at workplace had the same affect on their health as smoking. Shockingly, the job strain was even worse than the effects of obesity, lack of physical activity, high cholesterol and alcoholism combined.

Doctors say that there needs to be greater awareness about the effects on stress on longevity. So instead of telling workers to simply eat healthily and exercise more, educate them about the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much you exercise or how well you eat. If you suffer from pre-existing cardiometabolic diseases and face addition job strain on top of that, you will still be at a high risk of premature death despite leading a healthy lifestyle.

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