Workplace Discrimination Linked to Hypertension Among US Workers

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Adjusted hazard ratio was 1.54 for hypertension for those with high versus low exposure to workplace discrimination.

HealthDay News — Discrimination in the workplace is associated with an elevated risk for hypertension among US workers, according to a study published online April 26 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Jian Li, MD, PhD, from the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the prospective association of workplace discrimination with onset of hypertension using data from the Midlife in the US cohort study. A total of 1246 participants were included in the main analysis.

The researchers found that 319 workers reported onset of hypertension during follow-up of 9,923.17 person-years. Participants with low, intermediate, and high levels of workplace discrimination had incidence rates of hypertension of 25.90, 30.84, and 39.33 per 1000 person-years, respectively. Compared with workers with low exposure, those with high exposure to workplace discrimination had a higher risk for hypertension (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.54). Slightly stronger associations were seen in a sensitivity analysis. An exposure-response association was seen in a trend analysis.

“There are several implications from these findings,” Li said in a statement. “First, we should increase public awareness that work is an important social determinant of health. Second, in addition to traditional risk factors, stressful experiences at work due to discrimination are an emerging risk factor for high blood pressure.”

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