Stress, insomnia may triple death risk for those with hypertension

A stressful work environment coupled with a lack of sleep can result in a threefold higher risk of cardiovascular death in people with hypertension. Having both a stressful job and difficulty sleeping may dramatically increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular death.

Recent research looked at how stress and insomnia affected the health of employees who have hypertension, and the news was sobering.

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The researchers found that in comparison with their peers who slept well and did not experience work-related stress, hypertensive employees with stress and insomnia were three times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 2,000 employees whose ages ranged from 25 to 65 years. These workers had high blood pressure, but at the time of the study, they did not have cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

Although those with either job-related stress or insomnia did have an increased risk of cardiovascular death, the risk was higher when people had both of these factors present in their everyday lives.

The authors published their findings in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

“These are insidious problems,” notes Professor Karl-Heinz Ladwig of the German Research Centre for Environmental Health and the Medical Faculty, Technical University of Munich.

“The risk is not having one tough day and no sleep. It is suffering from a stressful job and poor sleep over many years, which fade energy resources and may lead to an early grave,”he said.

Many factors can increase a person’s risk of heart disease, some of which are uncontrollable, such as increasing age, biological sex, and heredity.

However, other factors — such as smoking habits, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, and being overweight — are modifiable.

High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for heart disease because when blood pressure becomes elevated, the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body.

This extra work thickens the muscles of the heart, and it can also harden or damage artery walls. As a result, less oxygen makes its way to the body’s organs, and the heart becomes damaged over time due to its increased workload.

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