Trio of Problems Increases Heart Attack Risk

guy having heart attackIf you have high blood pressure, job stress and problems sleeping, watch out. That particular combination is linked to having a three-times higher risk of cardiovascular death, according to a study published in the April 28 European Journal of Preventative Cardiology.

“Sleep should be a time for recreation, unwinding and restoring energy levels. If you have stress at work, sleep helps you recover,” said study author Karl-Heinz Ladwig, professor at Technical University of Munich, Germany. “Unfortunately, poor sleep and job stress often go hand in hand, and, when combined with hypertension, the effect is even more toxic.”

In the 18-year-long study, researchers examined 1,959 hypertensive workers between the ages of 25 and 65 without cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Compared with those who had no work stress and good sleep, those who had work stress and poor sleep were three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease. Adding just work stress increased the risk 1.6 times. Those with just poor sleep had a 1.8 times greater risk.

“Each condition is a risk factor on its own and there is cross-talk among them, meaning each one increases risk of the other,” Ladwig said. “Physical activity, eating healthily and relaxation strategies are important, as well as blood pressure lowering medication, if appropriate.”

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