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Does Your Job Raise Your Risk for Heart Attack?

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Do you have a difficult Type A boss? Are you overly stressed at work?

Experiencing burnout on the job from too many long hours, trying to make deadlines that even Superman or Wonder Woman couldn’t possibly hope to meet?

Or, perhaps you simply feel trapped by work circumstances and powerless to effect any meaningful changes. Making the daily work environment a place you want to be, versus something to be survived for another eight hours, may seem impossible.

If so, then according to the results of a new study led by Mika Kivimaki of the University College London or UCL, your job just may be driving you to a destination where you don’t want to go -- a heart attack.

It’s generally accepted that stress isn’t good for our health. Perceived as a threat, stress triggers the fight-or-flight response. This causes a release of hormones that put us into overdrive as we prepare to do battle and conquer the pending threat.

Unfortunately, when faced with prolonged stress such as a difficult work environment, the fight-or-flight response never shuts off. This can lead to a variety of physical and emotional health conditions ranging from headaches, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, fatigue, mood swings, and much more.

Stress has also been linked to an increase in more serious conditions such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Those exposed to prolonged workplace stress spend eight hours or more a day in a constant state of fight-or-flight, increasing our risk of stress-related illness, including heart disease.

According to the Kivimaki study, workplace stress raises the risk of heart attack as much as 25 percent. Researchers based their findings on a review of the results of 13 different studies involving 200,000 participants over a 20 year period from 1985 to 2006.

The studies were conducted in various locations throughout Europe, including France, Great Britain, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark.

At the beginnings of the various studies, none of the participants had a previous history of heart attack.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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