Is your job giving you a heart attack? The International Commission of Occupational Health (ICOH) conference this week in Newport Beach, Calif., helps answer that question, and more. The UCI Center for Occupational and Environmental Health is hosting this conference, during which original research is being presented in the following areas: the changing nature of work; the relationship between working conditions, social class and social inequality as determinants of cardiovascular disease research; and the relationship between working conditions, social class and social inequality as determinants of cardiovascular disease risk.
This tipsheet highlights research with broad news appeal being presented at the conference. To see a complete list of abstracts, see: www.coeh.uci.edu/icoh/index.htm. To reach any of the researchers, call Dr. Peter Schnall at (310) 428-6652, or Tom Vasich at (949) 824-6455.
Noteworthy studies being presented at ICOH:
Working longer hours leads to higher hypertension rates in Americans
Previous studies in Japan have shown that people who work more than 40 hours a week have a higher rate of hypertension, the precursor to cardiovascular disease. Haiou Yang and colleagues with the UCI Center for Occupational and Environmental Health tested this idea with California workers between the ages of 18 and 64. They found that people who worked 50 hours a week or more were 13 percent more likely to report hypertension than people who work less and 40 hours a week. Abstract No. 106.
Job pressure raises blood pressure all day, all night
By monitoring blood pressure rates over a 24-hour period of 126 workers, Els Clays of the Department of Public Health in Belgium found that the high psychological demands of a stressful job with little decision-making authority raises blood pressure rates, even when the subjects were asleep. This study provides the first evidence that job stress is tied to continually elevated blood pressure levels even during sleep. Abstract No. 006.
Nurse burnout rate predicted by job stress levels
Heather K. Spence Laschinger and Joan E. Finegan of the University of Western Ontario have identified how job stress levels can be a predictor of burnout rate among nurses. In a study observing 192 nurses, the researchers identified how high psychological demands and low levels of decision-making authority are directly related to work effectiveness and ultimately job burnout. The researchers also discovered that job strain was significantly related to nurses' physical and mental health. Abstract No. 061.
Job stress makes quitting smoking harder, especially for men
While a stressful job has links to cardiovascular disease, it can also make quitting smoking harder. This is what Francoise Leynen at the Département d'Epidémiologie et de Promotion à la Santé - Ecole de Santé Publique, Université Libre de Bruxelles - in Belgium and colleagues discovered in a survey of 2,821 people from nine companies. Workers who have jobs with high stress and little decision-making authority are less likely to stop smoking, irregardless of their socio-economic levels and intensity of smoking habit. In addition, male smokers have an even harder time quitting. The study reports that companies should explore smoking cessation programs for their employees. Abstract No. 020.
Chinese prone to high hypertension rates than Americans
In a meta-analysis of studies exploring hypertension rates among Caucasians and Chinese, Xiao-Fei Zhang of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics in Australia and colleagues found that Chinese people are more prone to develop coronary heart disease from high blood pressure rates. The study advocates that public health efforts targeting hypertension control among Chinese and other Asian populations should be instituted to help lower the high morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular diseases. Abstract No: 014.
Job and family stress impact blood pressure for working Chinese women
Liying Xu at the Centre for Clinical Trials at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and colleagues found that job strain and family stress faced by Chinese women leads to significant increases in blood press rates and is a determinant for greater rates of cardiovascular disease. The study took place in Beijing with 421 working women. Abstract No. 060.
A complete archive of press releases is available on the World Wide Web at www.today.uci.edu