Stress on the job how burnout affects the heart heart foundation

Stress at work: How burnout burdens heart and soulStress, mobbing, job insecurity and excessive demands are risk factors for burnout as well as for coronary heart disease. How to prevent.

How stress at work damages the heart?

Permanent stress at work has an unfavorable effect on health in several respects. Among other things our blood prere can rise dangerously or it can come to a Burnout syndrome ("Ausgebrannt being") that affected persons likewise again physically and psychologically strongly affects.

On the one hand, stress promotes unhealthy behaviors – such as eating and alcohol consumption – and is often accompanied by too little exercise. On the other hand, stress also has a direct effect on our vegetative (involuntary) nervous system. And that can z. B. lead to high blood prere or sleep disorders. In addition, stress hormones such as adrenaline and inflammatory messengers are released, which in the long run promotes premature aging of the cardiovascular system, u.a. narrowing of the coronary arteries and/or damage to the heart muscle. The result can be acute heart problems, including heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmias or heart failure.

People with a strong burden of chronic stress show depressive symptoms, a burnout syndrome or sleep disorders significantly more often than people without a strong burden of chronic stress. The mortality risk (all causes of death) in association with psychosocial stress increases.


Watch out for burnout warning signs such as persistent lack of energy, leaden fatigue, mood swings/permanent irritability, sleep disturbances and nervous twitching. Do you also have the feeling of an inner emptiness and being unable to "switch off" at all? Then seek professional psychological help.

When does stress become burnout??

Sustained stressful situations at work and/or in private life without conscious recovery phases can at some point lead to a physical and psychological exhaustion reaction that is so pronounced that the person affected can no longer draw new energy from his or her own resources, is no longer able to perform and only reacts in a distant emotional manner. This can affect managers as well as nurses, older people as well as younger people.

In addition to working conditions, aspects in the personality of those affected are often decisive: it often affects people who make high demands on themselves and others and want to do everything perfectly, but experience little in return or confirmation. Not seldom are also a weak self-esteem. A certain aversion to conflict exists. There is a lack of coping strategies to deal with disappointments or frustration – this is often referred to as a lack of resilience strategies.

In the last decade, the number of cases of incapacity to work due to burnout has doubled. In 2019, according to calculations by the AOK, there were around 185 in Germany.000 people affected.

Factors in working life that are conducive to burnout:

– unfulfillable targets – unclear success criteria – great responsibility with little social support – time prere – boring routines – lack of control and influence – constant interruptions to the work process – poor working atmosphere, conflicts with superiors and colleagues – fear for the job

The World Health Organization (WHO) has now recognized burnout as a disease in its own right and included it in the new International Classification of Diseases (ICD) catalog, which will apply from the beginning of 2022. Prerequisite for the diagnosis is an occupational connection.

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