A stressful workplace could mean more trips to see your doctor, a new study suggests.
People with high-stress jobs see their general practitioners 26 percent more and specialists 27 percent more than people in low-stress jobs, according to the BMC Public Health study.
Researchers looked at health data from 18- to 65-year-olds in the Canadian National Population Health Survey. Job stress level was determined by the worker's control over decisions combined with the psychological demands of the job. Researchers also took into account job-specific stressors by grouping people into seven job categories: trade, professional, mechanical, health, service, managerial and farm.
"There is medical evidence that stress can adversely affect an individual’s immune system, thereby increasing the risk of disease," study researcher Mesbah Sharaf, of Concordia University in Montreal, wrote in the study.
Research from the University of California, Los Angeles shows that stress affects the immune system by boosting levels of cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for feelings of "fight or flight." However, if high levels of this stress hormone are kept in the blood for extended periods of time, it can wear down the immune system.
Past studies also show that a bad social environment in the workplace could impact health. A Health Psychology study published this month showed that people who report working in an unfriendly environment -- where they don't get along well with their colleagues and don't have a lot of support -- are more than twice as likely to do over 20 years than people with friendly workplaces.