Hypertension is diagnosed when blood pressure on the artery walls is consistently too high. This condition can eventually damage cells of the arteries' inner lining, leading to angina, heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, kidney failure and other serious health problems.
“People’s occupations during their working years can clearly be a risk for hypertension after they retire,” said senior study author Paul Leigh, a professor with the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research and the Department of Public Health Sciences at UC Davis. “The body seems to have built up a stress reaction that takes years to ramp down and may last well beyond age 75.”
What they found with retirees was consistent with studies of those who are currently employed: higher-status occupations are associated with less hypertension than lower-status occupations.
Unlike executives and professionals like architects and engineers, Leigh explained, workers in positions such as sales, administrative support, construction and food preparation have little control over decision-making, are under pressure to get a specified amount of work done in a certain amount of time and may feel inadequate about their positions in the workplace hierarchy. Consequently, their stress levels tend to be higher, which can lead to high blood pressure and, eventually, hypertension.