Workplace stress increases the risk of heart attack

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Stress is not healthy and increases the risk of heart attack in the workplace.

(22.09.2010) Doctors warn: Permanent stress at work increases the risk of heart attack considerably. A large part of the approximately 300,000 annual heart attacks in Germany is caused by stress. The cardiovascular system as a whole also suffers from the consequences of excessive stress at work.

Stress increases the release of hormones and makes the heart beat faster. "Stress releases more stress hormones such as adrenaline or cortisol into the blood," explained Ulrich Hildebrandt, chief physician of the cardiology department at the St. Irmingard Clinic in Prien (Bavaria). What was vital to our ancestors nowadays sometimes has a significant negative impact on our organism. Because "whoever suffers from chronic stress is in a way always under steam," explained Prof. Karl-Heinz Ladwig from the scientific advisory board of the German Heart Foundation in Frankfurt. By releasing the stress hormones, the autonomic nervous system is also stimulated more, which increases the heart rate permanently. H. makes the heart beat faster and makes the organism physically more powerful for a short time. However, this also involves a considerably higher strain on the heart.

The immune system can also be affected. The release of stress hormones, which is permanently increased in the course of stressful everyday work, can also cause high blood pressure and a nervous bowel. In addition, extremely stressed people suffer more often from infections and poor wound healing, because "another aspect is that the psyche can also influence the body's immune system," explains Prof. Ladwig.

A distinction is made between objective and subjective stress. "Stress at the workplace (...) is a mixture of objective and subjective parameters", says Prof. Ladwig. The objective stress factors such as time pressure, permanent noise, many overtime hours and high workload generally increase the risk of heart attack, but the sensitivity varies greatly depending on the personality of the person concerned. "It (...) also plays a role how you react to these objective factors and whether you can try to change them", emphasized Prof. Essential in this context, however, the realization that objective factors are the main factor for the stress of the workers are responsible and the stress is not just in the head.

Prevention: Sport and relaxation training against stress Objective stress factors do not necessarily have to trigger a heart attack or other heart diseases, because "you can try to prevent stress somewhat," says Prof. Jochen Jordan from the German Society for Cardiology. Instead of putting yourself under constant pressure, “one should ask oneself:‘ Is such a work style worthwhile? Do I want to live like this? ’” Explains the recognized psychosomatician. Because if you stress less, you protect your own cardiovascular system. Regular exercise or exercise can also be extremely helpful for coping with stress and preventing a heart attack. Because when sweating, "stress hormones such as adrenaline can be flushed out of the body", emphasized Prof. Jordan and recommends doing about three hours of endurance sports per week: "This can be cycling, jogging or walking." the specialist, often also a conscious relaxation training with the aim of lowering the pulse and blood pressure. "Techniques that promote the parasympathetic system, that is, what provides for rest and relaxation - for example yoga, Thai Chi or listening to relaxation music", are advisable in this context, according to Prof. Jordan.

One in five is already suffering from stress symptoms According to reports by the business magazine "Wirtschaftswoche", one in five Germans is already showing symptoms of stress, with the stress at work particularly hard to bear for many. According to surveys on physical and psychological stress in the various professions, the Federal Statistical Office comes to the conclusion that some activities are inherently at risk of stress. Because of their effects on the biorhythm, occupations with night and shift work are disproportionately triggers of stress symptoms among employees. "Even jobs where you drive a lot pose a risk of heart disease," said Prof. Jordan. Representatives, bus, taxi and truck drivers are particularly at risk, according to the Federal Statistical Office, since they are often very tense for a long time when driving and cannot then properly reduce the stress. In addition, people in temporary employment contracts or with temporary employment contracts suffer from stress symptoms relatively often, as they not only stress everyday work, but also lack a future professional perspective.

Reducing objective stress, countering subjective stress with suitable methods As stress at the workplace not only increases the risk of heart attack significantly, but the psychological stress also causes an enormous increase in absenteeism due to illness, experts such as Prof. Jordan and Prof. Ladwig strongly advise employers to also to reduce the objective loads of stress at work. In addition, everyone affected should strive to find suitable methods that help to reduce the subjective feeling of stress. (fp)

Also read:
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Sick from work stress
Multitasking: same stress for men & women
Stress in the job affects the heart

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Video: Mind Your Heart: Stress Mental Health and Heart Disease


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