High Job Strain Linked to Increased Blood Pressure
reporting high levels of job strain have higher blood pressure than
workers who are under less strain, found a recent study.
in the April
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official
publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental
strain is defined as high psychological demands combined with low
control or decision-making ability over one's job and is associated
with increased blood pressure particularly among men not just during
the work day but also at home and during sleep, according to the new
research, led by Els Clays, M.Sc., of Ghent University, Belgium.
from a large study of the health effects of job stress, the researchers
identified 89 middle-aged Belgian workers with high job strain and a
similar number of workers without high job strain. Both groups
underwent 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, in which their
blood pressure was measured at frequent intervals as they went through
their regular daily activities.
results confirm men with high job strain had significantly higher blood
pressure. Although blood pressures were highest at work, workers with
high job strain also had increased blood pressure while they were at
home, and even when they were sleeping. On average, blood pressure
during the work day was 6.5/3.1 mm Hg higher for the workers reporting
high job strain. (Normal blood pressure is about 120/80 mm Hg.)
high job strain had increased rates of other risk factors, such as
older age, increased body weight, and smoking. However, the
relationship between job strain and blood pressure remained significant
after adjustment for these factors.
analysis suggested that the rise in blood pressure was more strongly
related to low job control, or "decision latitude," than to high job
strain has previously been linked to an increased risk of
cardiovascular disease, particularly in men. Increased blood pressure
is one way in which high job strain might affect cardiovascular risk.
this and other studies, there is convincing evidence for consistent
associations between self-perceived job strain and ambulatory blood
pressure," the researchers concluded. The increases in blood pressure
linked to high job strain may not seem large on the individual level.
However, from a public health perspective they could be very
significant especially since blood pressure reductions of similar
magnitude can lead to substantial reductions in heart disease risk.
of the study were published in the April Journal of Occupational and
Environmental Medicine, official publication of the ACOEM.
The ACOEM is an international society of 5,000 occupational physicians and other healthcare professionals.
For more information on the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, visit www.acoem.org.