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Job Strain and Marital Stress Can Raise Pressure

Job Strain and Marital Stress Can Raise Pressure

"The Double Exposure study was designed to determine if people under stress go on to develop higher levels of ambulatory blood pressure, possibly moving them along the pathway to hypertension,” said Sheldon Tobe, MD, lead investigator from Sunnybrook and Women's Health Science Centre, Toronto. "Double Exposure refers to the possible interaction between job and marital factors on new and existing hypertension."

"Most job strain studies have been in men,” he explained. "Double Exposure looks at both men and women and psychosocial factors on sustained blood pressure. We wanted to see whether and how job strain and marital cohesion are related to ambulatory blood pressure over a 24 hour span, during work hours and in face-to-face contact with a spouse.”

It was found that Job strain was significantly associated with higher 24 hour systolic blood pressure compared to those without job strain, resulting in an average 5 mm Hg elevation in blood pressure. Dr. Tobe said: "This effect to raise blood pressure was seen during work hours but was not as prominent when in the company of the spouse or during sleep.”

Dr. Tobe noted that other factors also linked to higher systolic blood pressure included older age, a higher body mass index and not exercising regularly.

"When in the company of the spouse, consuming more than 10 drinks of alcohol a week was a prominent factor in raising blood pressure,” he said. "This was associated with a 3.68 mm Hg elevation of systolic blood pressure during spousal contact.

"Excessive alcohol consumption was related to higher blood pressure during spousal contact," Dr. Tobe concluded. "The impact of marital factors as well as job strain on blood pressure will be further examined in the one year follow-up of the Double Exposure study, which concludes in June 2004.”, Source: American Society of Hypertension


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