Stress in the Workplace Linked to Cardiovascular Disease

New research finds yet another reason to ease up on the stress of your nine to five.

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and SUNY Downstate Medical Center have created a model to study economic globalization. Their findings: globalization contributes to the rise of employment stress, which could be linked to the rise of cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.

Work and Health Risks

According to Science Daily, the research model indicated that “economic globalization influences the labor market and work organization in high-income countries, which in turn exacerbates job characteristics, such as unreasonable demands, low job control, effort-reward imbalance, job insecurity and long hours.”

These characteristics in turn increase an employee's risk for a number of health problems – including diabetes, which affects over 29 million people in the United States alone, and cardiovascular disease, which accounts for 30 percent of all deaths across the world.

What Do We Do?

Economic globalization won't be going away anytime soon, so how can employees reduce their stress levels (and their risk for health problems)? The UCI researchers put the burden on employers, pushing for a living wage, mandatory vacation time, and an upper limit of hours worked in their report.

“Given the high costs of medical treatment and the economic impact on employers and society of ill health, lost productivity, and sickness absence, it is in the interest of all to seriously consider improving work organization,” Paul Landsbergis, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate, said in a press release from UCI.

But you too can take steps to cut back on stress: make an effort to get enough sleep, eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet, practice meditation or another relaxing activity at the end of a long day. Remember that your job should never take over your life – particularly not at the expense of your health.

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