Study finds stressful jobs take a toll on men’s heart health

Chronic stress from a demanding job can create a host of heart-related problems for men. This news is from a recent American Heart Association study, which followed 6,500 white-collar men working in stressful jobs had double the risk of receiving a diagnosis of heart disease compared to men working in less stressful jobs. 

An interesting finding from this study was that there appeared to be two kinds of stress, in particular, affecting men’s heart health by increasing their development of coronary heart disease by 50%:

  • Stress defined as ‘job strain,’ meaning men who feel pressure to perform with little to no power over their ability to get the job done
  • Stress defined as ‘effort-reward imbalance,’ meaning men who are not getting rewarded or recognized adequately, such as low pay, lack of promotions, or feeling unfulfilled

The men in this study were followed for 18 years, and out of the total number, 571 men had a first-time coronary event of heart disease, like having a heart attack or experiencing severe angina or chest pain due to blocked arteries. Of the women in this study, only 265 had a similar heart event. 

Why job stress contributes to heart disease

According to lead investigator Mathilide Lavigne-Robichaud, men experiencing significant on-the-job stress are inadvertently harming their heart health as stress can trigger physical responses leading to major risk factors of heart disease – increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and narrowing of blood vessels to and within the heart. Each of these problems forces the heart to work harder, negatively affecting blood flow and heart rhythm. 

Another important finding was that work stress also contributes to other factors that are harmful to heart health men may not be aware of. These factors include a man’s eating and exercise habits or taking time to relax daily. This finding emphasizes the necessity of living a healthy lifestyle to lessen the strains of stress on the cardiovascular system.

Authors of the study were even comparing chronic job stress to possibly be as harmful to heart health as obesity or breathing in secondhand smoke. 

How can men reduce stress at work?

Many jobs have taken the health of their employees seriously in recent years by addressing stress’s impact on their health and wellbeing. Numerous studies have shown that workplaces that emphasize employee health have the potential to promote good heart health. 

Employers should take the initiative to actively invest in their employees healthy by participating in a workplace wellness program to lower cardiovascular disease. Here ideas employers can adopt to create a heart-healthy workplace:

  • Offer healthy food options in break rooms and vending machines
  • Provide educational materials on living a heart-healthy lifestyle
  • Bring in speakers such as registered dietitians on heart-healthy eating or fitness trainers on finding ways to exercise
  • Offer smoking cessation programs
  • Encourage routine medical care such as annual physicals, staying up-to-date on vaccines, and routine health screenings
  • Provide support for making mental health a priority
  • Promote regular physical activity such as providing discounted gym memberships, encourage walking meetings and exercise breaks


Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911. 


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