Stressful situations at work can have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system and the metabolism. Stress, which is transmitted by direct and indirect signaling pathways, leads to an inflammatory response in the body, which can trigger cardiovascular diseases, amongst others. These results, which were achieved by scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum München following their evaluation of data from a population-based cohort study, were published in the specialist journals Brain, Behavior, and Immunity and Psychosomatic Medicine.
The study is based on a long-term observation of more than 950 people as part of the population-based cohort study MONICA/KORA. The work was conducted by Dr. Rebecca Emeny as part of the Mental Health working group headed by Prof. Karl-Heinz Ladwig, Institute of Epidemiology II (EPI II) at the Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU). Data was analyzed from questionnaires on psychological stress at work and concentrations of inflammatory biomarkers in the blood. The results showed that healthy workers who were exposed to stress at work displayed significantly elevated inflammatory parameters and faced twice the risk of cardiovascular diseases.