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Is Your Job Setting You Up for Heart Disease – or Worse?

Young businesswoman stressed with hand on temple while two people hand her more documents to work on.

You’re about to go home for the day when your boss comes over to your desk and drops a load of files that have to be finished tonight. It’s something he regularly does because he knows he can count on you – and, because he doesn’t want to do it himself. How you react can make a big difference in your overall health.

If your stress level immediately shoots through the roof, you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to a slew of ailments, including heart disease – or worse. According to medical experts, including Michael Miller, MD, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and author of Heal Your Heart, “workplace stress is bad for your heart.”


Is your job causing you stress?

The easiest way to tell your job is stressing you out is:

You suffer from frequent headaches once you get to work.
Your heart often races when at or discussing work.
Your palms sweat and your blood pressure rises.
You have a constant tired or worn out feeling.
You’re cranky and snap easily at your family and friends.
You have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep and/or concentrating.
You’re more susceptible to colds and can’t seem to shake them off.
You “self-medicate” with alcohol or medications, such as sleeping pills or valium.

If you’ve developed several of these signs as part of your daily work routine, your chance of having a heart attack just went up.

Shot of a mature businessman looking tired while working at his office desk

How it affects you

Short-term stress during the tax season, year-end inventory or working retail over the busy holidays, generally, won’t do much harm. Your body produces stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol as a way to get you through those periods until things slow down.

But, if that’s your norm you have little or no stress-free time at work, your body will continue to store those chemicals and, as they begin to convert into cholesterol, they increase your risk of heart disease.

Everyone is different – and, while one person may function perfectly fine under tight deadlines, another person can feel overwhelmed and stressed to the point of breaking into tears. According to Redford Williams, MD, head of behavioral medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, the way you manage your stress is up to you.

Male manager giving more paper work to a female employee

The choice is yours

You can choose to react with anger or anxiety – or you can choose a more productive approach like discussing the matter calmly with your boss. Ask for more time to complete the work he just thrust on you at the last minute. If that isn’t possible, request more advanced notice in the future so you won’t feel as pressured to get things done in a tight window.


Use your time off to chill out

Instead of dwelling on your job, your boss or what bugs you at work – spend your time off on relaxation – anything that takes your mind away from the stuff that stresses you out during the week.

Enjoy yourself and don’t think about work.
Unwind by catching a movie, engaging in a hobby, sports, hiking, meditation or prayer
Get together with friends or family and discuss anything but work.

In the end, if a change of employment seems to be the only way to reduce your stress, check into moving on to another job or profession.

Your health should always come first. If you’re currently without healthcare coverage, low cost health insurance is available through Freeway Insurance. Why not get a free health insurance quote today?

Do you have a stressful job that has your concerned about your health? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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