If there is one thing the majority of workers in American can agree upon it’s that their jobs work them too hard and pay them too little. Striking a good work/life balance can become even more difficult during the holiday season when demands on your time become even more common than usual. While long days at work might not be rewarded with extra pay, it certainly offers plenty of stress, which just may raise your risk of heart attack.
At Louisville Dental Associates, Dr. Chuck Skinner, your family dentist in Louisville, CO, wants all of his patient to understand the risks stress can pose to your oral and overall health. Studies have found that stress causes increased inflammation which can negatively impact your overall health, while also causing muscle tension in your head, neck and jaw that can cause lasting damage to your oral health, as well.
Dealing with stress is important year round, especially considering the results of a recent study.
Stress & Your Health
A recent study conducted in Europe came to that conclusion after examining the experiences of almost 200,000 workers who took part in 13 separate studies. Researchers found that people with stressful jobs were 23 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack than those workers whose jobs weren’t as stressful.
But what exactly qualifies as a stressful job? Just having to work hard isn’t enough. For a job to be consider stressful it must combine intense demand with little control over decisions that effect work.
Using that measurement, approximately 30,000 of the people studied qualified as having stressful jobs. As part of the study, researchers also had roughly 7 ½ years of follow-up information on the participants.
While previous studies that tried to find a link between stress at work and the heart were somewhat inconclusive, this latest joint study from some of Europe’s top universities seems to have finally uncovered conclusive evidence of the existence of a link.
By using the large pool of data retrieved from previously published and unpublished studies on the subject, researchers were able to examine the affect of job stress with greater precision than had previously been available. Published in the peer reviewed journal The Lancet, researchers did acknowledge their study could not prove cause and effect because the original work only observed people and did not assign them randomly to low and high-stress jobs.
Researchers concluded that by removing job-related stress entirely from the workplace, the number of future heart attacks in the U.S. would drop by roughly 3.4 percent. In contrast to these findings, if people quit smoking, for example, the number of heart attacks in the U.S. would be reduced by roughly 36 percent each year.
Considering that heart disease ranks as the leading cause of death in the U.S., any reduction in people’s risk of suffering a heart attack, even a small one, would be welcome news. Unfortunately, reducing stress in the workplace rarely falls upon the shoulders of those most affected.
Stress & Your Oral Health
Your family dentist in Louisville, CO, Dr. Chuck Skinner, hopes that every patient can avoid the effects of stress on their physical health, including their oral health. Patients who suffer from excessive stress levels run the risk of increasing their risk to a number of oral health problems, including TMJ, teeth grinding, and cracked, chipped and broken teeth caused by years of wear.
All of these conditions increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Studies have found that patients suffering from gum disease and decay also have an increased risk of suffering from chronic illnesses like stroke, diabetes and heart disease. So not only can stress increase your risk of heart disease on its own, it can also contribute to poor oral health conditions that also raise your risk.
Considering how many ways stress can impact your health, it’s important to put work and family commitments in perspective this season so you can enjoy and healthy and happy holiday this year and in the future.