Job Stress Spikes Women's Risk of Heart Attack and Heart Disease
On-the-job stress may harm a woman's heart—especially if the stress makes her feel like she has little authority and no opportunity to use her creative skills. In fact, females with these sorts of high-stress jobs up their odds of suffering a heart attack by 88 percent, according to a study presented Sunday at an American Heart Association meeting in Chicago. They're also 40 percent more likely to develop clogged arteries and other signs of heart disease than those with lower-stress jobs. Besides the stress-heart attack link, the study researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston also found that worries about the possibility of job loss raised the chances of having heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. The study followed 17,415 health professionals for more than 10 years. "The big thing is, what's happening to you now in terms of mental tension has long-term effects on your health," study author Michelle Albert told Bloomberg.
HPV Vaccine: Not Just for Women?
For men, the potential consequences of infection by the human papillomavirus are nasty, like genital warts, and even life-threatening, as penile and anal cancers. But these complications are quite rare, writes U.S. News's Kurtis Hiatt. For the average guy, the virus lies silent, doesn't cause problems, and clears in a year or two.
Still, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, and the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is deliberating whether to issue a public recommendation that boys and men be vaccinated with Gardasil, the only HPV vaccine approved for that group, just as it's recommended for women. There is no easy answer. Experts must weigh the cost of immunizing against the benefits, which could include fewer cases of HPV-related cervical cancer in female partners but most of the time is just about staving off a few relatively harmless warts. They also want to wait and see whether the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will allow Gardasil maker Merck to market the vaccine for the prevention of anal cancer; currently it is approved for preventing cervical cancer in females between the ages of 9 and 26 and genital warts in males and females in that same age group. The FDA is expected to make a decision by the end of the year. ACIP officials will consider the FDA's action in making their recommendation, which could come as soon as February, says Lauri Markowitz, leader of ACIP's HPV working group. For now, though, men and parents of boys are on their own. They can request the three-shot series, and doctors are free to provide it.
So far, however, demand has been underwhelming. "Let's just say they're not knocking down the doors asking for it," says Michael Rich, an associate professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Boston. And from a professional perspective, he says, "it's not a standard protocol for your average 11-year-old boy, you know, troopin' in for his physical." But it's still something some parents will ponder. [Read more: HPV Vaccine: Not Just for Women?]
Family Members Caring for Veterans Sacrifice Their Own Health, Jobs
Many family caregivers of U.S. veterans sacrifice their own health and jobs to care for their loved ones and experience high levels of stress, HealthDay reports. Even so, 94 percent say they're proud of their role, says a new study. "The care of a veteran is unique, and in many ways these caregivers are facing even greater challenges than other family caregivers," said Gail Hunt, president of CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC), which released the study to coincide with Veteran's Day. "This report serves as a reminder that we need to come together to make sure caregivers have adequate resources and support," Hunt said in an alliance news release.
A previous NAC study found that more than 10 million people in the U.S. are caring for a veteran, from those who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam up to the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and nearly seven million of them are veterans themselves. There are more than 23 million U.S. veterans, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Compared to caregivers nationally, those who look after veterans are twice as likely to be a caregiver for 10 years or longer (30 percent vs. 15 percent), and are twice as likely to be in a high-burden caregiving role and to consider their situation highly stressful, found the new Caregivers of Veterans—Serving on the Homefront study. [Read more: Family Members Caring for Veterans Sacrifice Their Own Health, Jobs.]
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