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What Are the Most Stressful Occupations?

Researchers have found that the amount of stress associated with your job is directly related to whether you feel "in control" and respected in your work. Brain surgeons and astronauts have very mentally taxing jobs, which would seem to be stressful. However, scientists at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, say that service industry jobs, such as restaurant servers, nursing aides, and customer service clerks, are typically associated with higher levels of stress. These repetitive and often thankless jobs frequently come with long and irregular hours, low pay -- and a greater risk of heart problems and stroke.

A difficult way to make a living:

  • The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that high-stress jobs come with a 58 percent greater chance of ischemic stroke, which is typically caused by blocked arteries.
  • The researchers found that high levels of stress at work led to employees self-medicating with practices such as smoking, drinking, lack of exercise, and poor eating habits.
  • The study found that restaurant servers have a 22 percent higher risk of stroke, on average, than those with lower-stress jobs. For female servers, the increased risk is estimated at 33 percent.
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