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Stressed nurses’ heart attack risk revealed


The risk of heart disease may be higher for young women who work in stressful jobs, scientists in Denmark have suggested.

Although similar studies in the past have mostly focused on men, it has been known that so-called high-flying jobs can cause the disease.

The 15-year research, known as the Danish Nurse Cohort Study and involving 12,116 female nurses aged 45-64, showed that women who said their job was a little too pressured and stressful were 25% more likely to develop heart disease than women who deemed their job manageable.

Women who said their job was far too stressful were 35% more likely to develop heart disease than those who said they were not under stress at work, after other factors such as whether they smoked were considered.

By 2008, 580 of the nurses involved in the research had developed heart disease, 138 of whom had had a heart attack, 369 had angina and 73 had other types of the disease.

The scientists also investigated how much control the women believed they had over their job and concluded that this had little bearing on the number of nurses who had heart disease.

The research findings were published in the Occupational And Environmental Medicine journal.

The researchers, from Glostrup University Hospital in Denmark, said older women may have less of a risk of heart disease for several reasons, including if they have already left work.

They concluded: “This study adds to the previous body of evidence suggesting harmful effects of excessive psychological demands at work on cardiac health, but is one among very few that demonstrates the effect among women.

“Additional work should be carried out to identify factors contributing to the perceived high work pressure.”

Click here to read the study in Occupational And Environmental Medicine


Readers' comments (2)

  • No surprises then that stressed females are likely to develop heart disease. It would be even more interesting for further research to be undertaken into the health implications of working nights/long days/rapidly rotating shift patterns etc. The way frontline shift patterns unfold MUST have a detrimental affect on our health. However I think the our finance department already know that, the quicker you kill off the staff the less pension you have to pay out. They'll be giving out free cigarettes next......

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  • I have thought about this alot recently, I dont smoke, I exercise regularly at the gym, I eat a healthy diet and hardly ever drink alcohol (sounds so boring) but its very difficult to do anything about the stress of being a staff nurse in a highly pressurised environment. Makes me wonder whats the point in leading a healthy lifestyle if my job is going to be the death of me!

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