Comedian Drew Carey once quipped, “Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.”
Now you might not hate your job. But a shocking study shows that it might be giving you a lot more than just an occasional tension headache or a case of the “I need a drink” blues.
It turns out that your job might be quite literally killing you.
Your noisy workplace could give you a heart attack
If your work place is noisy it could be harming your heart. In fact, research published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine found it can more than double your risk of severe heart disease.
According to researchers if it’s loud enough that it’s difficult to carry on a normal conversation you’re two to three times as likely to have serious heart problems as folks who work in quiet workplaces.
The news gets even worse if you’re a smoker, male, or under 50 years old. If you fall into one of those three categories you’re three to four times more likely to experience angina, coronary artery disease, or a heart attack.
To the researcher’s surprise, blood tests on this group did not show the typical expected signs of heart disease.
Excessive noise as stressful as extreme physical exertion
When they tested for high levels of cholesterol and inflammatory proteins they didn’t find them. Instead, they found that the pressure on artery walls when the heart relaxes was higher than normal in these workers. The pressure between heartbeats is elevated.
This condition, known as isolated diastolic hypertension (IDH), is a sign of serious heart problems. According to the researchers the IDH is likely a sign that excessive noise is as much of a stress producer as extreme physical exertion or a sudden strong emotion.
So, in other words, it’s as if you are emotionally or physically stressed for at least eight hours a day, five days a week. And that, of course, takes its toll on your health. It’s no wonder that your risk for a heart attack skyrockets.
If you work in a noisy work environment check in with your doctor about how it might be affecting your heart.
You should also take some steps to reduce the constant noise level. When you do the stress your heart is being exposed to will plummet. If you can’t change your work environment consider investing in a decent pair of noise-canceling headphones.