Whether it’s a tight deadline or a big presentation, most people know the feeling of a stressful day at work. While the short-term effects of this pressure may be a missed night's sleep, the long-term effects can be grimmer: Numerous studies have shown the correlation between stressful work environments and the development of heart disease.
However, a large literature review published by the Canadian Medical Association shows that a healthy lifestyle may be key to preventing disease among those with high-stress jobs.
Scientists found data on more than 102,000 adults from seven studies who did not have coronary artery disease in initial phases of research. Through questionnaires, participants provided information about their job strain and four lifestyle risk factors: current smoking, physical inactivity, obesity and heavy alcohol use. Based on their answers, each person was ranked as having a healthy, moderately unhealthy or unhealthy lifestyle.
Participants were then monitored for coronary heart disease for an average of 7.3 years. Those who had a psychologically stressful job were 25 percent more likely to develop the disease than people who did not have similar job strain.
Among those with stressful jobs, participants with a healthy lifestyle were half as likely to develop coronary artery disease as those with more lifestyle risk factors.
"A healthy lifestyle may substantially reduce disease risk among people with job strain," the researchers wrote in the study abstract.