Friday, February 14, 2014

Job Stress and Heart Disease

February is American Heart Month bringing into focus all things about heart disease. One question I have not heard answered is "Can my job stress cause me to have a heart attack?" The short answer is "Yes". Surprised? Let's take a quick  look at why that is. This question of is stress at work was explored in February's edition of  Wellness Wednesday Getting Healthier Every Week where experts weighed in about job stress and health.

WebMD published Is Your Job Wrecking Your Heart? How job stress may affect your heart's health, and what you can do about it where they reported since the U.S. unemployment rate high, most people today are happy just to have a job and a regular paycheck. Add to this the 2013 State of the American Workplace Report who estimates 70% of Americans are disinterested and unhappy at work.

The Right Management, a subsidiary ManpowerGroup,  released a snapshot survey that underlines the dissatisfaction among American workers including feeling stuck in their jobs and unable to consider a career move even if they’re unhappy.

In fact, the American Psychological Association’s 2010 Stress in America Survey found that work is cited as 1 of the top 3 contributors to stress, second only to worries about money and followed closely by fear about the state of the economy.  
You might be asking yourself "What does all this stress have to do with heart disease?" 
Job stress puts pressure on the heart by raising blood pressure, heart rate, and even cholesterol levels. When you are under job stress you may have the tendency to reduce your attentiveness to healthful lifestyle choices, increasing likelihood of risky behaviors like over eating, smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages and sleeplessness, which all exacerbate known risk factors for cardiac disease. These unhealthy behaviors leads to obesity and type 2 diabetes.When you have diabetes, you are at least twice as likely as someone who does not have diabetes to have heart disease or a stroke.
What can you do?
When it comes to stress the answer is very individual. It's a trial and error until you find the strategy that works for you. Here is what WebMD has to say:
  • Add cardiovascular exercise, such as running, biking or brisk walking.
  • Try yoga, tai chi, massage and / or meditation.
  • Change your point of view, take a fresh look.
  • Focus on healthy behaviors such as eating heart healthy and stop smoking.
To read the full article click here

Your heart will thank you.

Your partner in health,


Cindy Cohen RN, BS BA
Certified Health Coach
Wellness Consultant

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dispite Research Belief Remains Workplace Wellness Does Not Save Money But They Are Wrong

The conventional believe continues to be workplace wellness programs do not save company's money despite what the current research demonstrates. Many believe the return on investment is very low if at all. In fact the belief is it takes as long as 3 years to demonstrate any savings or employee health improvements.

Where does this belief come from? It was true in the past, but not any more. Why was it true?

It was true based on how wellness programs were delivered. In past the focus of wellness programing had been on trying to get the sick people healthy. This is known as disease management and not easy to do. To provide a disease management service requires persistent monitoring from a health coach, a close relationship with the primary care physician, medical specialists, medical testing, and pharmaceutical intervention. This requires a great deal of time and expense.

Previously when wellness programing was offered to the entire employee population improved health had not been required. These programs are fun, some get healthy but most do not.

Despite popular belief there is a good return on investment for wellness programs.  A recent study published February 2014 by Digital Access Harvard Review (DASH) Workplace Wellness Programs Can Generate Savings demonstrates this in their report:
  •  medical costs fall about $3.27 for every dollar spent
  • absentee day costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent
The environment is changing. Results oriented wellness programing is available, although according to Wellness Councils of America only 5% of companies in this country is results oriented, the other 95% are not. New research is underway to focus on results such as improved health and return on investment. Our best advise is to look for a qualified wellness consultant to help you find results oriented wellness options. 

Your partner in health,

Cindy Cohen RN, BS BA
Certified Health Coach
Wellness Consultant

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