Workplace stress increases risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

You’ve made it through another stressful day at work. But a new university study suggests that this toxic environment and your equally toxic boss may be bad for your heart.

In a high-stress workplace where employees learn to distrust their boss, the risk of developing cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease is high. The finding is based on research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The study, which also cites data from Gallup, examined the link between stress at work and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

The researchers said a lack of trust in the workplace – defined as “mutual understanding, fairness and respect between supervisors and subordinates” – increased risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes among workers. They also found that employees who were frequently stressed were more likely to be smokers and obese.

A bad boss doesn’t just cause stress and burnout. They could also increase their employees’ chances of having a heart attack or stroke because of the environment they create, the researchers said.

Managers therefore have an important role to play in ensuring that their workplaces are conducive to better overall health.

Employers shouldn’t just aim for “freedom from illness and injury” in the workplace, said author and occupational therapist Angela Lockwood. They should promote a positive work culture and give employees time to relax.

Source: HDR