Workplace stress increases the risk of heart attacks and deaths from coronary heart disease by 23%, according to a new study published in The Lancet.
The research from University College London found that those who in lower skilled jobs, who were under a lot of pressure but had little control over it were the most stressed.
They analysed 13 existing European studies covering nearly 200,000 people. However, they say the risk of hearts attacks from stress much less than for smoking or not exercising.
The workers were asked about their workloads and about how much control they had over them then followed for around seven and a half years. The researchers have worked out that eliminated workplace stress could prevent 3.4% of heart deaths, but this compares to 36% for stopping smoking.
The researchers admitted that the issues were often overlapping as those with stress often smoked or failed to exercise so how people deal with stress was also important.