Stress from Work and Social Interactions Increases Women’s Likelihood of Heart Disease

It is known that the link between coronary heart disease and mental stress tends to be stronger in women.

Nevertheless, how different forms of stress affect the risk is still not clear. That’s why a group of scientists from Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health in Philadelphia implemented research that studies the relationship between the risk of coronary heart disease in women and psychosocial stressors.

The data is collected by the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. The goal is to measure the combined and independent effects of paid work, social relationships, and stress events in life.

The results were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. These suggested that social and work strain may increase the risk by more than 20 percent.

This is an important reminder to women that they should not neglect the threat. It is particularly important when the pandemic results in many stressors.

If the findings are true, they would help change the current focus of preventing coronary heart disease in women. Now they need to prevent stress rather than managing current sources of stress.

Also, the study may be a serious reminder to everyone that stress should be solved properly and quickly to promote overall health and well-being.

In the research, scientists collected and analyzed data from more than 80,000 women with menopause in the United States. The age range is from 50 to 79 years old. These participants were tracked in more than 14 years, on average. They used self-reporting questionnaires to measure stressors.

After adjustments for variables like additional stressors, age, socioeconomic factors, and job tenure, they discovered life events with high-stress levels and high social strain may increase the risk of developing by up to 12 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

In addition, they found out a link between social and work strain. Both factors work synergistically and increase the risk by more than 20 percent.

The results would suggest necessary strategies for women and healthcare providers to deal with stress and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

A limitation of the study is that most of the participants were white and educated. Also, scientists did not consider other compounding elements related to coronary heart disease, such as social support systems and working hours.

Lastly, the study only examined the effect of stress associated with the current or recent job, neglecting career changes during their life.

Source:

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.120.017780

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