(HealthyResearch.com) – Stress can take a lot out of you. When chronic stress becomes severe burnout, the effects can span far beyond lost sleep and shaky job performance. Evidence is mounting that severe burnout could have serious repercussions on your health, which may ultimately affect your heart. We have the details.
What Is Burnout?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as a syndrome resulting from unmanaged chronic stress at work. Burnout manifests itself in three main ways:
- Fatigue or physical exhaustion.
- Emotional distance or a negative attitude about the workplace.
- Failing work performance.
While the WHO only considers workplace stress a causal factor, these symptoms are likely to affect sufferers’ everyday lives well beyond their 9-to-5.
Effects of Chronic Stress on the Body
Regardless of the cause, chronic stress can have a slew of effects on a person’s physical and emotional health. According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress can cause:
- Musculoskeletal pain.
- Asthma exacerbation.
- Obesity and diabetes.
- Immune disorders.
- Acid reflux and chronic bowel disorders.
- Changes in libido and reproductive health.
- Hypertension and increased cardiovascular risks.
Mayo Clinic adds that genetics and personal experiences can affect how severely someone will react to a given stressor.
The Link Between Burnout and Heart Disease
Chronic stress can lead to inflammation in the body, which can contribute to hardening of the arteries. A study, which analyzed the effects of burnout on the heart, showed it could be a predisposing factor in the formation of coronary heart disease. Other research suggests burnout could lead to atrial fibrillation, a form of irregular heartbeat that can trigger a heart attack or stroke. No matter which way you look at it, burnout is no good for your heart.
Take Steps to Prevent Burnout
Mayo Clinic recommends that you reduce your chances of suffering from burnout by taking inventory of your workplace stress and:
- Seeking solutions through your employer.
- Reaching out to friends, peers and family members for support.
- Getting enough exercise, relaxation time and sleep.
- Using mindfulness techniques, such as meditation and yoga.
Remember that your health should always come first; you’re no good to anyone if you’re too stressed out to function.
Burnout is a potentially serious medical condition that can lead to stress-related illnesses, possibly even heart disease. Make sure to take care of yourself and your future, reducing your stress levels and watching out for signs of emotional fatigue. Stress happens, but it doesn’t have to take over.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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