Boring jobs can make your heart bad

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British researchers say that dull, steady, boring and unexciting jobs are no good for the heart.

The researchers found that men with "low-grade jobs", meaning they had little control over daily tasks, may make the heart beat in an unchanging, rapid rhythm, which could lead to heart disease.

According to the study men in low social positions had faster and less-variable heart rates and that could explain why men with low-paying jobs and less education have a higher risk for heart disease.

Dr. Harry Hemingway, of University College London Medical School, who led the study, says this trend that has been evident for the last 30 years.

Hemingway says a healthy heart rate varies, and the heart doesn't, or shouldn't, beat like a metronome.

Hemingway and his team studied 2,197 men aged 45 to 68 who worked for the British government, and talked to them about friends and family, education and lifestyle. Job control was rated on a 15-item scale.

Steadier, faster heart rates were consistently seen in the men with lower social positions, less job control and higher depression.

Hemingway and his colleagues found that the heart rates of men in low-level positions were on average 3.2 beats per minute faster than men in top-level positions, and it almost appeared as if arteries behave as if they know how much a person makes and how much education they have had, said Hemingway.

He says the effect was clear even after taking into account factors such as smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise, all of which can adversely affect heart rate.

Hemingway surmises that it may be possible to help prevent heart disease by changing workplace conditions, and hopes the study's information will provide insight into the mechanisms at work so that interventions are possible that will change the outcome.

The study is published in the journal Circulation.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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