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The lethal trio: bad sleep, hypertension and work stress


United States.- Having work stress, hypertension and bad sleep could be a recipe for early death, German researchers reported.

In a study of nearly 2,000 people with hypertension who were followed for almost 18 years, those who reported that they had both a stressful job and that they were sleeping poorly were three times more likely to die of a heart disease than their patients They slept well and did not have a difficult job, researchers found.

"Up to 50 percent of adults have hypertension," said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, professor of cardiology at the University of California, in Los Angeles.

It is a major risk factor for heart attack, stroke (ACV), heart failure, kidney disease and premature cardiovascular death, Fonarow said, who did not participate in the new study.

"Several studies have found associations between greater work stress and a subsequent risk of cardiovascular events. Sleep deterioration has also been associated with an increase in risk," he said. But these associations did not prove causality.

In the new study, researchers reported that among people with hypertension (or high blood pressure), those with only work-related stress had twice the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, just like those who only reported that they were sleeping poorly.

According to the main researcher, Dr. Karl-Heinz Ladwig, "Sleep must be a time of recreation, relaxation and restoration of energy levels. If you have stress at work, sleep helps you recover." Ladwig is a professor at the German Center for Environmental Health Research, and also works at the Technological University of Munich.

Unfortunately, sleeping poorly and labor stress often goes hand in hand, and when combined with hypertension, the effect is even more toxic

According to the authors of the study, stressful work is one in which employees have many demands, but little control over their work. For example, a company that demands results but denies the authority to make decisions.

"If one has high demands but also high control, that is, he can make decisions, this could even be positive for health," Ladwig said. "But being trapped in a situation of pressure that does not have the power to change is harmful."

Bad dream was defined as having difficulties getting asleep and staying asleep. "Keeping asleep is the most common problem in people with stressful jobs," Ladwig said.

These problems are combined with time and they take away the energy, and "could lead to an early death," he added.

Ladwig suggested that, to reduce the risk of early death, people keep blood pressure under control, develop good sleeping habits and find ways to manage stress.

Mika Kivimaki, professor of social epidemiology at the University College of London, believes that this study offers a unique observation of the risk in the workplace.

Most of the previous research on work stress has been directed to the working population in general, he pointed out.

"The health effects have been relatively modest, but the recent findings suggest that stress could be a bigger problem for those who have a pre-existing illness. The new study supports this idea," said Kivimaki , who did not participate in the study.

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Focusing on people with hypertension was a good option, he noted.

"In this group, atherosclerosis [el endurecimiento de las arterias] is common, "Kivimaki said. As for these patients," the stress response could increase cardiac electrical instability, the alteration of plaques and the formation of thrombus [coágulos]", Which can contribute to an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), heart attack and ACV.

Researchers think that companies can help implement programs that teach employees to relax.

Companies should offer stress management and sleep management in the workplace, Ladwig added, especially for people with chronic conditions such as hypertension. These programs also have to include help to stop employees from smoking.

It is well known that people with hypertension can substantially reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke when achieving and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, Fonarow has indicated. If the workplace programs designed to reduce stress and improve the sound will result or not be seen, he pointed out.

The report appears in the April 28 issue of the Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

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