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Job stress hikes risk of heart disease for women

November 14, 2010|By Shari Roan | Los Angeles Times
  • A survey shows women who have demanding jobs with little or no authority or creative outlets have a much greater risk of heart disease.
A survey shows women who have demanding jobs with little or no authority… (Michael Smith / Getty Images )

Stress takes a toll on women's heart health. A study released Sunday found that women who report high stress on the job have a 40% increased risk of being diagnosed with heart disease.

Researchers at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston looked at survey data from 17,415 women who were part of the Women's Health Study. These women were primarily white health professionals in their 50s. They were followed for more than 10 years. Job stress was defined as having a demanding job but little or no decision-making authority or opportunities to use one's creative or individual skills.

The women in high-stress jobs who developed heart disease had heart attacks, strokes or needed coronary-artery bypass or balloon angioplasty. The increased risk of heart attack alone was 88%. The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Assn.'s Scientific Sessions.

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