Women at more risk of heart disease due to stress at work

London: Women are twice as likely to suffer from heart diseases caused by stress at work places as compared to their male counterparts, a new study has found.

The finding suggests that the well-known damaging effects of job stress on men cause more harm to women`s heart.

During the study, among female nurses in Denmark, researchers observed for 15 years the impact of having a demanding job on the hearts of 12,000 women aged 45 to 64.

Those who complained of excessive pressure were at least 50 percent more likely to have heart disease than those who said the pressure was manageable or appropriate. This figure was reduced to 35 percent when lifestyle factors such as smoking were taken into account.

The effect was greatest among nurses aged under 50, who ran twice the risk if they had a high pressure job, The Independent reported.

The researchers from the Glostrup University Hospital in Denmark say heart disease is more common in older people and so causes such as stress are harder to distinguish from other lifestyle factors.

During the observation period 1993-2008, 580 women had been admitted to hospital with heart disease, of whom 138 had suffered a heart attack. The results were published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The researchers also analysed the results for the first five years of the study, when the nurses were younger. This showed the effects of stress were greater, relatively, with up to a doubling in the risk of heart disease for those under the greatest pressure.

June Davison, a cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Feeling under pressure at work means stressed employees may pick up some unhealthy bad habits and add to their risk of developing heart problems.

"Pressurised workers may reach for cigarettes, snack foods and alcohol to make themselves feel better. If you feel under pressure, you should try and tackle it in a positive way and get active during work hours".

He said using the stairs and walking some of the way to work could help act as a stress buster and boost heart health.