(HealthDay News) – Physically demanding work is associated with increased risk of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and ischemic stroke; and the effects of physical work demands and leisure time physical activity combine to increase coronary risk, according to two studies presented at EuroPrevent 2013, held from April 18–20 in Rome.

Ekavi Georgousopoulou, from Harokopio University in Athens, and colleagues examined the effect of occupation on the likelihood of having a non-fatal ACS or ischemic stroke. The researchers found that participants with a first ACS and ischemic stroke were engaged in more physically demanding occupations than controls. Less physically demanding occupation status correlated with a significantly lower likelihood of having ACS or ischemic stroke event (odds ratios, 0.81 and 0.83, respectively), after adjustment for numerous confounding variables.

Els Clays, PhD, from Ghent University in Belgium, and colleagues examined the effects of physical work demands and leisure time physical activity on the incidence of coronary events in a cohort of 14,337 middle-aged men, free from coronary heart disease at baseline. The researchers found that moderate to high physical activity during leisure time correlated with a significantly reduced risk for coronary events for men with low, but not those with high, occupational physical activity (age-adjusted hazard ratio, 0.4). The risk of coronary heart disease was significantly higher for men with high physical job demands who engaged in leisure time physical activity (hazard ratio, 4.77).

“The results of this study suggest that additional physical activity during leisure time in those who are already physically exhausted from their daily occupation does not induce ‘training’ effect but rather an overloading effect on the cardiovascular system,” Clays said in a statement.

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