Women are out working as hard as men and although they don’t have the same pay as men, they have similar chances of having heart risks known to men. As one author says „Working women are equal to men in a way they’ll wish they weren’t.“
Heart disease is among the top three leading causes of death among 20 to 60 year-old women worldwide, according to a women’s report put up by the World Health Organization (WHO) last 2009. Like most reports, WHO links this phenomenon to a generally unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking, wrong diet and physical inactivity. A new study presented at a conference of the American Heart Association in Chicago reported the link between heart disease and work-related stress among professional women. It showed that working women have an 88% chance of getting a heart attack compared to women without stressful jobs and a 43% probability of undergoing a bypass procedure. Worrying about losing one’s job does not increase chances of heart attack but heart-disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and obesity. “Overall, the increase in heart-disease risk in high-strain workers versus their low-strain counterparts was 40% ”. The study involved more than 17,000 health professionals from a socioeconomically diverse group followed for over 10 years in the U.S.
Stress is defined as “enduring extremely high demand while having little control”. There is nothing wrong with having a demanding job as long as there is room for creativity, development of other personal skills and decision-making. Since most women in these professions are not in management positions, their jobs entail them only to be productive and to learn fast. Thus the often “lack of authority or control over their work“ may be an important factor. However, the researchers found that “the correlation between heart-disease risk and job strain had more to do with the position’s demands rather than the women’s lack of control. That is, women with demanding jobs, regardless of their level of decision-making control, were worse off than women with less demanding positions”.
The importance of association of stress and heart risk is not a cause and effect and although the researchers do not know whether less stress would help in lowering chances of getting heart risks, they advised women to engage in physical and social activities that can lessen stress.