LONDON, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- People who experienced higher work stress is more likely to have a heart attack, according to a study of nearly 200,000 people from seven European countries that is published on Friday.
An international team of researchers reported in the journal Lancet that they have analysed job strain in employees who participated in 13 previous studies in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Netherlands, Sweden and Britain between 1985 and 2006.
"The pooling of published and unpublished studies allowed us to investigate the association between coronary heart disease (CHD) and exposure to job strain - defined by high work demands and low decision control," said Professor Mika Kivimaki from University College London who led the research.
"Our findings indicate that job strain is associated with a small, but consistent, increased risk of experiencing a first CHD event such as a heart attack," he said.
It is calculated that people who have highly demanding jobs and little freedom to make decisions are 23 percent more likely to experience a heart attack compared with their counterparts without such work stress.
The increased risk remained the same even after taking into account factors such as lifestyle, age, gender, and socioeconomic status.
Professor Kivimaki said: "As such, reducing workplace might decrease disease incidence."
Some experts commented that job strain is a measure of only part of a psychosocially damaging work environment, which implies that prevention of workplace stress could reduce incidence of coronary heart disease to a greater extent than stated in this study's calculation.