Your Stressful Job Raises Your A-fib Risk

M.A., Health Writer

Atrial fibrillation or a-fib is the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia. It raises risk of stroke and premature death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say as many as 6.1 million of us may have a-fib here in the United States.

A Swedish study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology reports that job strain is associated with an almost 50 percent increased risk of a-fib. Using data from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH), researchers adjusted for age, sex, and education, along with smoking, physical activity, body mass index, and hypertension. They undertook the research in part because only two studies had been done previously on work stress and a-fib.

They cited physiological factors tied to stress including autonomic imbalance such as increased release of the stress hormone cortisol, low-grade inflammation, and elevated blood pressure. Even mental stress can cause changes in the heart's left atrium — all of those "making a biological pathway between work stress and atrial fibrillation plausible."

Sourced from: the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology