A British study of 1,000 civil servants found workplace stress is a major factor in the development of heart disease and diabetes.
"Employees with chronic work stress have more than double the odds of the syndrome than those without work stress, after other risk factors are taken into account," said lead researcher Tarani Chandola, of the University College in London.
The study found that the more stress workers suffered, the more likely they were to suffer metabolic syndrome symptoms, which involves obesity and high blood pressure.
However, many of the features of the metabolic syndrome can be reversed or improved by lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, getting more exercise and eating healthy, the BBC reported Friday.
One possible explanation for the result may be that prolonged exposure to work stress affects the nervous system or that chronic stress may reduce biological resilience, thus disturbing the body's physiological balance.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
Explore further: Freedom and responsibility of science