Job burnout linked to heart disease
Washington: Job burnout can significantly increase the risk of heart disease, a new US study has warned.
Job burnout is a physical, cognitive, and emotional exhaustion that can result from stress at work.
In the study, those who were identified as being in the top 20 per cent of the burnout scale were found to have a 79 per cent increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), the buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries that leads to angina or heart attacks.
Dr Sharon Toker of Tel Aviv University`s Faculty of Management and her fellow researchers found a link between job burnout and CHD.
Calling the results "alarming," Toker said that these findings 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.
Knowing that burnout has been associated with other cardiovascular risk factors, such as heightened amounts of cholesterol or fat in the bloodstream, the researchers hypothesised that it could also be a risk factor for coronary heart disease.
Over the course of the study, a total of 8,838 apparently healthy employed men and women between the ages of 19 and 67 who presented for routine health examinations were followed for an average of 3.4 years.
Each participant was measured for burnout levels and examined for signs of CHD. The researchers controlled for typical risk factors for the disease, such as sex, age, family history of heart disease, and smoking.
During the follow-up period, 93 new cases of CHD were identified. Burnout was associated with a 40 per cent increased risk of developing CHD. But the 20 per cent of participants with the highest burnout scores had a 79 per cent increased risk.
Toker predicted that with a more extended follow-up period, the results would be even more dramatic.
Once burnout begins to develop, it sparks a downwards spiral and ultimately becomes a chronic condition, she warned.
The study was published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.