24 January 2008

Work Stress May Kill You

The team conducted seven surveys over a 12-year period and found chronically stressed workers --- people determined to be under severe pressure in the first two of the surveys --- had a 68 percent higher risk of developing heart disease.

The link was strongest among people under 50, Chandola said.

Behavior and biological changes likely explain why stress at work causes heart disease, Chandola said. For one, stressed workers eat unhealthy food, smoke, drink, and skip exercise -- all behaviors linked to heart disease.

[Reuters, 22 Jan 2008]

In the Philippines, I have long been theorizing what diseases do those in various working professions often get and what really kills them. Here are some of my thoughts, and feel free to add anything I might have missed:
  1. Bus and Jeepney Drivers - asthma and lung cancer. Most of these drivers smoke and the air pollution here is one of the worst in the region.

  2. Street Sweepers - used to be known as Metro Manila aides but now go by the weird monicker of "police oysters," these people are prone to accidents like being hit by speeding drivers, and yes, by the similar suffocating dirty smoke of air pollution.

  3. Garbage Collectors - because I have not seen them wear any protective clothing, I think they are prone to contracting skin diseases and diarrheal infections.

  4. Policemen - other than being killed in action, I think they suffer the same fate as those of drivers and street sweepers who frequent Manila's roads everyday. They are susceptible to respiratory-related illnesses.

  5. Construction Workers - very prone to work-related accidents. Not all employers provide hard hats or harnesses. Those working with heavy equipments like jackhammers and cement slicers are often seen with no earplugs. Early onset of deafness is a good guess among these workers.

  6. Messengers and Delivery Boys - riding in motorcycles which defy traffic rules, they are prone to vehicular accidents in their efforts to meet their deadlines.

  7. Cigarette and other Street vendors - vehicular accidents and respiratory ailments.

  8. Department Store Salesladies and Barbers - frequently standing up for long hours --- up to 8 hours daily --- waiting for customers might lead not only to boredom but chronic venous insufficiency in the legs (varicose veins). This has not been proven conclusively but theories abound.

  9. Call Center Employees and Security Guards - disruption of normal sleep patterns may increase incidence of mood swings, depression, and poor mental judgment.

  10. Dentists and IT Workers - neuropathies of the hand foremost of which is carpal tunnel syndrome.

  11. Doctors and Nurses - similar to call center employees, their sleep patterns are often disturbed. I have long advocated that those involved in sensitive occupations like life and death should get enough sleep. But nobody is listening.

  12. Lawyers, those in Managerial Positions, other Civil Servants - frequently sitting down with less movement but bombarded with office stress, this is the work group addressed by the mentioned study above. Think metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and early heart problems.

3 reactions:

rolly said...

buti na lang wala atang teacher.

Dr Emer said...

Thanks for the reminder, Tito. With teachers, I can think of a number of possible illnesses! Given the fact that they also stand and write a lot, repetitive limb injuries might be considered. Before, teachers used to write using chalk, now with white boards, its pens with erasable markings, both which have certain smells not agreeable with those with asthmatic conditions.

Anonymous said...

i work at night,too. the lack of sleep really gets to me sometimes. i become disoriented and have trouble remembering things.

does lack of sleep kill brain cells?