/publications/issue/2003/2003-09/2003-09-7408

Long-Term Stress and Hypertension

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    In the United States, the risk of hypertension goes up with age. So says Paul Landsbergis, PhD, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. ?We think work stress is 1 of the reasons. In more primitive societies blood pressure doesn?t go up at all with age. People reach the age of 70 and they still have blood pressure readings of 100/60 [mm Hg].?

    Dr. Landsbergis and his colleagues interviewed more than 200 men who had worked at stressful jobs for 25 years or more. They found that such long-term stress led to an extra 4.8-point rise in systolic blood pressure when the men were at work and a 7.9-point rise when the men were at home (American Journal of Epidemiology, June 2003). ?Workers can be . . . given more flexible schedules,? said Dr. Landsbergis, and thus reduce stress.