Harvard Heart Letter

Stressful job may raise stroke risk

Job strain—defined as having a demanding job in which you have little control—may slightly increase the risk of a stroke. The findings, in the February 2015 Stroke, echo earlier results that show a similar link between heart disease and job strain.

Researchers gleaned the results from 14 different studies that included more than 190,000 men and women from six European countries. Their average age was 42, and the follow-up lasted just over nine years, on average. Job strain was associated with a roughly 20% higher risk of ischemic stroke (the type that occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel supplying the brain).

The study authors suggest that job strain may activate the body's stress response, which causes faster heartbeat, higher blood pressure, and more production of chemicals that encourage clots to form in the blood.

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