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Stress linked to young women's heart disease

6th May 2010

Working in a stressful job has been linked to a high risk of heart disease in young women.

Research published in the Occupational and Environmental Medicine journal followed 12,116 nurses and looked at how a demanding job can affect their chances of developing cardiovascular disease.

The study found that 580 nurses were admitted to hospital with ischaemic heart disease during its 15-year span, with those who claimed their work pressures were too high having a greater risk of the condition.

Nurses who believed their jobs were slightly too stressful had 25 per cent more chance of developing heart disease, while those who said they were significantly too pressured showed a 50 per cent higher risk.

The report also noted that it was only women under the age of 50 who appeared to be affected by a higher incidence of the condition.

'It seems as if the effect of work pressure has a greater impact on younger nurses. This is in agreement with findings from previous studies looking at age-specific effects in both men and women,' the authors concluded.

Commenting on the research, June Davison, cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, recommended that women should tackle stress in positive ways, such as taking exercise and seeking support from employers.

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