Study sees job stress as heart risk to women
CHICAGO — Working women are equal to men in a way they’ll wish they weren’t. Female workers with stressful jobs were more likely than women with less job strain to have a heart attack or a stroke, or to have clogged arteries, a large federally funded study found.
Worrying about losing a job can raise heart risks, too, researchers found.
The study was led by Dr. Michelle Albert, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Results were reported yesterday at an American Heart Association conference in Chicago.
The results seem sure to resonate in a weak economy with plenty of stress about jobs — or lack of them.
The mere fact this study was done is a sign of the times: Past studies focused on men and found that higher job stress raised heart risks.
This is the longest major study to look at stress in women, who make up nearly half of the workforce.
“The reality is these women don’t have the same kind of jobs as men’’ and often lack authority or control over their work, said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of the Women and Heart Disease program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “It’s not just going to work, it’s what happens when you get there.’’
Steinbaum had no role in the study.
The research involved 17,415 participants in the Women’s Health Study, a long-running trial looking at heart disease and cancer prevention. The women were healthy, 57 years old on average, and had worked full- or part-time when the study began in 1999.