Cardiovascular risk may be higher in women if they tend to have stress in the workplace. Work stress, fatigue, and sleep disorders are generally regarded as non-traditional risk factors for stroke and heart attack, but according to a new study, these factors are rising more among women.
The study compared data from 22,000 men and women in the Swiss Health Survey from 2007, 2012, and 2017. Researchers found a surprisingly significant increase in the number of women reporting non-traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Workplace stress is increasing in both women and men, with both sexes reporting an increase from 59% in 2012 to 66% in 2017. Researchers noted that 33% of women reported being more fatigued, while 26% of men reported the same. Over this same period, sleep disorders increased from 24% to 29%, with severe sleep disorders affecting 8% of women and 5% of men.
Traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease have mostly remained stable, with people still suffering from hypertension, raised cholesterol, and diabetes. Obesity has been increasing, while the number of people who smoke is slowly declining.
Study authors Dr. Martin Hänsel and Dr. Susanne Wegener commented, “Our study found men were more likely to smoke and be obese than women, but females reported a bigger increase in the non-traditional risk factors for heart attacks and strokes, such as work stress, sleep disorders, and feeling tired and fatigued.”
“These results underscore the fact that sex differences exist for non-traditional CVD risk factors with an alarming trend towards a particular increase in women.”
Recognizing Societal Pressures
This data shows that various cardiovascular disease risk factors go beyond medical ones. Recognizing these societal pressures can help to form better prevention strategies for heart attacks and strokes.
Diabetes, arterial hypertension, raised cholesterol, obesity, smoking, and physical activity are all recognized modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These new non-traditional risk factors can also be targeted through lifestyle interventions.
Traditionally, men have been more affected by stroke and heart attack, but in some countries, women have overtaken men. More research is needed to understand this gender gap.
Researchers believe that the increase in cardiovascular risk in women corresponds with the number of women working full time. Women tend to have more domestic responsibilities to juggle with socio-cultural aspects, which can directly affect the specific health demands of women.
Originally Appeared Here