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Job stress raises women's heart attack risk

November 15, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Women who have stressful jobs and little control over their work have almost double the risk of heart attacks than those with less job strain, according to researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The high-stress group had a 40 percent greater overall risk of heart problems, including heart attacks, strokes or clogged arteries needing bypass surgery or an artery-opening angioplasty procedure. The increased risk of heart attack was about 88 percent, while the risk of bypass surgery or invasive procedure was about 43 percent.

Researchers also found women worried about losing their jobs had higher blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight.

The research involved 17,415 participants in the Women's Health Study, a long-running trial looking at heart disease and cancer prevention. The women were healthy, 57 years old on average, and had worked full or part-time when the study began in 1999.

This was the first study to focus on women and work. Previous research on the health effects of work stress have only focused on men.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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