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Is work making you sick?

February 8, 2006
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If you haven’t been feeling well lately, it could be job-related stress that's ailing you.

Experts say "employees with chronic work stress have more than double the odds" of suffering from metabolic syndrome than do "those without work stress, after other risk factors are taken into account," according to a report on

Metabolic syndrome is a group of health risks that increase someone's chances of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

In a recent study of more than 10,000 men and women, "chronic" was defined as more than 14 years in duration.

The American Heart Association (AHA) reports people with the metabolic syndrome increase their risk for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), as well as dying from CVD and other causes.

The study found that men with chronic work stress were two times as likely to develop the syndrome as men who didn't regularly experience stress. In addition, social status appears linked to the increase risk of developing the syndrome, since workers at lower employment grades were more likely develop it.

Tarani Chandola, Ph.D., senior lecturer in medical sociology at London's Global University and the study's lead researcher, said the results of the study "suggest that there may be a direct effect of work stress on the autonomic nervous system and/or the neuro-endocrine system, independent of smoking, drinking, exercise and diet."

"The study is important for understanding the biological processes that lead from work stress to heart disease. Stress at work is not only debilitating for your mental health, it also has consequences for your physical health. Employers and managers should take note of these findings," he continued.

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