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New Study Shows Stress at Work Linked with Heart Attack


If you have had a heart attack, doctors recommend a good diet and regular exercise in order to prevent another one. But even if you follow your doctor's advice, a stressful job may mean more heart problems. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

Michel Heroux had his first heart attack 11 years ago. After recovering, he went back to a stressful job. "In that kind of job, you cannot make many mistakes so every time the boss talks to you, the level of stress increases," he said.

Two years ago, after a second heart attack, Heroux's doctor gave him this warning. "Stress is killing you. You don't have any more the arteries in the heart to go on in a very stressful environment," he said.

Heroux is not alone. Dr. Chantal Brisson at Laval University in Canada and other researchers studied almost 1,000 heart attack patients. They wanted to see if they could find a connection between a second heart attack and a stressful job. And they did.

"Those who returned to work in a stressful job had two times the risk of a new heart attack, compared to those who returned to a low-stress job," Brisson said.

The study finds that chances for a second heart attack are increased when patients returned to stressful jobs, regardless of the severity of their first heart attack, what medications they took, what their family history was - or whether or not they smoked.

The study authors recommend that heart attack patients, who return to work, ask for help in reducing work stress.

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