Turns out that following your heart into a career might not work out—for your heart. A study of 65,000 post-menopausal women found that women in some jobs have much higher chances of significant heart problems:
- Social workers were 36% more likely to have heart problems.
- Retail cashiers were 33% more likely to have poor heart health.
- Nurses, psychiatric healthcare providers, home health aides, and registered nurses were 14-16% more likely to have poor cardiovascular health.
These are surprising results, as many of these jobs are physically active roles, most in caretaking positions. Researchers found the spikes in poor heart health even when adjusting for age, marital status, education, and race.
Meanwhile, some job roles showed particularly improved cardiovascular health compared to women in other occupations:
- Real estate brokers and sales agents showed 24% less chance of heart problems.
- Administrative assistants had an 11% lower likelihood of cardiovascular health problems.
The study examined cardiovascular health among the top 20 most common jobs. Bede Nriagu, an epidemiology and biostatistics research fellow at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health, noted that healthcare providers were particularly prone to heart problems.
“This is surprising because these women are likely more knowledgeable about cardiovascular health risk factors,” Nriagu said in a statement. His study suggests that clinicians may want to inquire about patients’ occupations, to help identify high-risk patients.
The research will be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2019 this coming weekend.