Stress at work causes one in ten strokes (and those with senior jobs at greater risk)

The more stress you are under at work, the higher the risk of stroke, according to new research.

A study of men found that those in a higher social class, with a good education and senior position at work - who were also put under consistent psychological stress - were 1.4 times more likely to have a stroke.

Scientists who carried out the study said that 10 per cent of strokes in this group could be attributed to too much pressure at work.

Drop the pressure: A study in Denmark found that the more pressure you are under at work, the greater the chance of a stroke

Drop the pressure: A study in Denmark found that the more pressure you are under at work, the greater the chance of a stroke

The rest of the strokes were related to other risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The Danish study followed 5,000 men aged 40 to 59 living in Copenhagen, from 1970 for three decades (until 2001).

The participants answered surveys which included questions about their level of physical fitness, how much they drank and smoked. They were excluded from the study if they had a history of family heart disease.


There are precautions to lower the risk of stroke, according to the American Stroke Association.

These include:

  • Not smoking
  • Maintaining low cholesterol
  • Monitoring blood pressure
  • Having a healthy diet with five or more servings of fruit and veg per day
  • Aiming for at least 30 minutes exercise every day
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Avoiding illegal drugs

The men were also asked if they were 'rarely' or 'regularly' stressed out in the workplace.

Over 30 years of research, 779 men suffered a stroke while 167 workers died from one.

The results were remarkably different when it came to the position each man held in the pecking order at work. 

No link was found between psychological stress at work and men in the two lowest classes.

The risks were higher for younger men in senior roles as they were likely to be exposed to stressful conditions or bosses for most of their career.

Men in higher social classes tended to have jobs with more status, causing increased mental stress. Fewer men in the lower classes reported regular psychological trauma.

The study was published in this month's Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Stroke is the number four cause of death in America, killing more than 137,000 people each year with men at greater risk than women.

Last year in the U.S., $73.7 billion was spent on stroke-related medical care.

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now