Chronic work stress could lead to heart disease, diabetes
Jan 20, 2006 - 1:26:37 PM

Chronic work stress could lead to heart disease and diabetes, but lifestyle changes can help tackle the situation, says a study.

Stress has long been linked to ill health. But the new study, led by Indian-origin researcher Tarani Chandola at University College London, discovered a link between stress and metabolic syndrome, which involves obesity and high blood pressure, reported the online edition of BBC News.

The researchers, in a study of 10,000 British civil servants, measured the level of work stress and the different aspects of metabolic syndrome - a cluster of factors that cause heart disease and diabetes - such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.

They recorded factors such as social class, smoking, high alcohol consumption and lack of exercise. They found that there was a link between the amount of stress experienced in their job and the levels of metabolic syndrome symptoms, even when considering the other risk factors.

"Employees with chronic work stress have more than doubled the odds of the syndrome than those without work stress, after other risk factors are taken into account," Chandola said.

A possible explanation for the result may be that prolonged exposure to work stress affects the nervous system, they said.

However, the good news is that many of the features of the metabolic syndrome can be reversed or improved by lifestyle changes, he said.

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