|Are you exhausted by your work, physically and emotionally? Are you dealing daily with a diabolical boss? If so, you may be a prime candidate for heart problems.
A new Israeli study suggests that a strong link connects job burnout and coronary heart disease, an accumulation of plaque in arteries that can lead to angina or heart attacks.
Researchers looked at nearly 9,000 healthy and employed men and women ages 19 to 67 who went in for routine medical exams and followed up on their health data for several years. The results, recently published in Psychosomatic Medicine, were startling, even to the researchers.
Participants were asked a series of questions about their physical and mental states. They covered topics such as their ability to focus, think clearly and be sensitive to their co-workers' and customers' needs, as well as their emotional investment in their work.
"Those who were identified as being in the top 20% of the burnout scale were found to have a 79% increased risk of coronary disease," a press release by Tel Aviv University said.
One of the study's lead researchers, Dr. Sharon Toker, called the findings alarming, adding they were "more extreme than the researchers had expected -- and make burnout a stronger predictor of CHD than many other classical risk factors, including smoking, blood lipid levels and physical activity."
Toker also warned that job burnout can create a downward health spiral and develop into a chronic condition. She suggested employers make prevention a priority "by promoting healthy and supportive work environments and keeping watch for early warning signs of the condition."
Workers can combat the ill effects of job burnout by getting proper sleep, staying physically active and seeking psychological counseling if needed.
And if your current job is making you sick, you might be better off working elsewhere.