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Getting worked up can raise heart attack risk

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Are you feeling wronged at work? You don’t think life is being fair to you? If you answered in the affirmative, you face an increased risk of suffering a heart attack.

In a unique study that linked fairness with heart health, researchers from the University College London found that those who felt they were being unfairly treated by their employer, family or society were twice as likely to suffer serious heart diseases as those who perceived the world as fair. They also had poorer physical and mental health overall.

During the study, researchers tracked the health of 8,000 British civil servants working in London for almost 11 years and asked them to score their responses to the statement: “I often have the feeling that I am being treated unfairly” on a scale of 1 to 6, where 1 equals strongly disagree and 6 equals strongly agree.

Scores of 1 or 2 were categorised as low, those of 3 or 4 as moderate and those of 5 or 6 as high. Tabulation of data found that of the 3,000 subjects who felt they were unfairly treated, 64 out of 966 in the low category had had a heart attack or angina.

This compared to 98 out of 1,368 in the moderate and 51 out of 567 in the high categories. People in the high category were 55% more likely to have serious heart disease as those who did not feel they were unfairly treated. Women and those with lower incomes and status significantly felt they were being unfairly treated.

Reacting to the study, Dr Ashok Seth, head of cardiology at Max Healthcare, said,”Because people are better off nowadays, earning a lot more money than what they did 15 years ago, stress of running a house has decreased significantly. In comparison, workplace tension due to cut-throat competition has shot up significantly. Today, most of us spend a minimum of 10 hours at work, five days a week. This means that the majority of our time when we are awake, we are under work stress. This significantly affects our cardiac health.”

The study appeared in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health on Tuesday. Roberto De Vogli from UCL said the study reinforces the need for fair treatment in the workplace. It also provided insight into which people were most likely to find life unjust, although the results were adjusted to account for factors like hostile behaviour or lower socio-economic status.

Source:The Times Of India

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