Friday, March 01, 2013

Stress at Work Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Disease

Dr. Lydia Kaume, nutrition and health education specialist
Tel: (417) 682-3579

Stress results from our brain’s response to a demand and the degree of the response varies in individuals. Unfortunately, our bodies do not differentiate between routine stresses brought about by daily responsibilities, stress due to sudden change and traumatic stress brought about by a major event like assault or natural disaster.

A study published in “Lancet” in October 2012, found associations between works related stress and the development of heart disease.

In this study, the U.S. and European researchers analyzed 13 cohort studies with a total of 197,473 adults that had answered questions on: amount of time at work, amount of control at work, workload, conflicting demands, and control over work environment.

The study indicated that in a period of over seven and half years, 1.2 percent of study participants had experienced a heart attack or had died due to heart attack and 15 percent (29,620) had reported work stress.

“Even though the numbers in this study are not staggering, this study serves as an important reminder to reduce job-related stress,” said Dr. Lydia Kaume, a nutrition and health specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Previous studies demonstrate that chronic stress at work, or in any environment, affects sleep patterns, weakens our immunity, increases susceptibility to illnesses, and plays a major role in chronic health problems like high blood pressure, depression, heart disease and cancer.

Kaume offers the following tips for reducing job-related stress:

• Schedule breaks and use them to relax (take a 10 minute walk to reset, dairy or meditate).

• Work with your supervisor to reduce environment-related stress.

• Use relaxation techniques such as breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.

• Make physical activity part of your daily routine. Exercise is a powerful antidote for stress and stress-induced fatigue. Physical activity naturally boosts energy and lifts moods mostly as a result of the synergetic effects of increased endorphin production, improved fitness, and enhanced oxygen consumption.

• Eat enough of the right foods to optimize energy and reduce fatigue and increase efficiency at work hence stress reduction.

For more information on nutrition issues, go online to or contact one of the nutrition and health education specialists working in the Ozarks: Christeena Haynes, in Dallas County, (417) 345-7551; Dr. Lydia Kaume in Barton County, (417) 682-3579; or Dr. Pam Duitsman, in Springfield, (417) 881-8909.


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