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Work stress may lead to irregular heart rate

Raghu Kshitiz

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Too much job pressure may increase your risk developing a rapid and irregular heart rate, called atrial fibrillation, which can lead to a stroke, dementia, heart failure and other complications, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

The study, which included 13,200 participants enrolled into the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH) in 2006, 2008, or 2010, found that being stressed at work was associated with a 48 per cent higher risk of atrial fibrillation.

“Work stress has previously been linked with coronary heart disease. Work stress should be considered a modifiable risk factor for preventing atrial fibrillation and coronary heart disease,” said study author Eleonor Fransson from Jonkoping University in Sweden.

For the study, the team defined work stress as job strain, which refers to jobs with high psychological demands combined with low control over the work situation. Participants were employed and had no history of atrial fibrillation, heart attack, or heart failure.

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“People who feel stressed at work and have palpitations or other symptoms of atrial fibrillation should see their doctor and speak to their employer about improving the situation at work,” she explained.

They also completed postal surveys on sociodemographics, lifestyle, health, and work-related factors which included questions on job demands and control.

After a median follow-up of 5.7 years, the researchers identified that work stress was a risk factor for atrial fibrillation.

“Atrial fibrillation is a common condition with serious consequences and therefore it is of major public health importance to find ways of preventing it,” Fransson explained.

The symptoms of atrial fibrillation, according to the authors, may include palpitations, weakness, fatigue, feeling light-headed, dizziness, and shortness of breath.

With IANS inputs

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Sudden cardiac arrests are more likely to happen on any day at any time : Study

Raghu Kshitiz

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Representationa image

A new study has showed that sudden cardiac arrests are more likely to happen on any day at any time, challenging previous claims that weekday mornings — especially Mondays — were the danger zones.

Previously heart experts have long believed that weekday mornings were the danger zones for unexpected deaths from sudden cardiac arrests.

“While there are likely several reasons to explain why more cardiac arrests happen outside of previously identified peak times, stress is likely a major factor,” said Sumeet Chugh, a Professor of medicine from the Smidt Heart Institute in the US.

“We now live in a fast-paced, ‘always on’ era that causes increased psycho-social stress and possibly an increase in the likelihood of sudden cardiac arrest,” Chugh added.

Almost 17 million cardiac deaths occur annually worldwide while the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest is less than one per cent.

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For the study, published in the journal Heart Rhythm, Chugh’s team analysed data on 1,535 from the community-based Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study between 2004 to 2014, among which only 13.9 per cent died in the early morning hours, the findings revealed.

All reported cases were based on emergency medical service reports containing detailed information regarding the cause of the cardiac arrest.

“Because sudden cardiac arrest is usually fatal, we have to prevent it before it strikes,” Chugh said. “Our next steps are to conclusively determine the underlying reasons behind this shift, then identify public health implications as a result,” he added.

Apart from stress, other contributing factors may be a shift in how high-risk patients are being treated, as well as inadequacies in how past studies have measured time of death caused by sudden cardiac arrest.

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