A new study has suggested that burnout, the state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion from chronic stress, could increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder.
New research suggests that burnout could place a person at a higher risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib), a common heart rhythm disorder that is the leading cause of stroke in Europe and the US.
AFib affects over 33 million people globally and in the US, it causes around 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalizations annually. While many people with AFib suffer chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath and fatigue, it is symptomless for others, making it potentially a silent killer.
The study, published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, suggested that chronic stress and exhaustion could be crucial in developing the disease.
Study author Dr. Parveen Garg, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine, said: “We’ve known that stress can cause other types of heart disease, but this is the first study to really link exhaustion to potentially increasing your risk for a cardiac arrhythmia.”
“We know a few prime risk factors that are very important, such as obesity, high blood pressure and smoking, but it doesn’t explain everything about why we get this condition. We’re drawing a link between exhaustion and atrial fibrillation which really hasn’t been described before,” Dr. Garg added.
The American Institute of Stress reported that 80% of American workers say they feel stress on the job, half of whom claim they need help with stress management. Meanwhile in the UK, almost 600,000 people say they suffered from stress while working during 2018.
Dr. Garg said: “Burnout can be any sort of stressor — it doesn’t necessarily have to be work. It can be personal stress, home or family tension. It’s anyone who is chronically stressed and who suffers from chronic exhaustion.”