Health data on 400,000 Americans says that bad bosses and toxic offices may breed heart disease

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Your job might be bad for your heart.

Especially if you don't trust your boss.

A new study in the International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health found that negative workplaces, particularly mistrustful ones, contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. The study, which also used data compiled by Gallup, found that trust in the workplace (or lack thereof) was associated with other CVD risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

CVD, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is the no. 1 cause of death in the world. It isn't just one disease, however; it includes coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and any disorders of the heart or blood vessels. If left untreated, they can result in heart attack or stroke, which can be deadly. The major risk factors all have to do with diet, exercise, and, in the case of high blood pressure - stress.

Experts are looking at stress at work, especially burnout (exhaustion due to chronic workplace stress), as more than just a downside to work. In May, the WHO officially classified burnout as a syndrome as cases have been increasing at an alarming rate.

This study, Trust in the Work Environment and Cardiovascular Disease Risk, examined stress levels in relation to CVD. According to Gallup, past research has already found a relationship between these factors, but studies haven't examined workplace trust in particular.

After surveying over 400,000 US workers, the study found that people who worked in a mistrustful environment were more likely to be smokers, have high blood pressure, diabetes, a poor diet, obesity, and high cholesterol. And workers' bosses were in large part to blame for that mistrustful environment. Trust was defined as "understanding, fairness, and mutual respect between the supervisor and subordinate" - or the lack thereof.

The takeaway for managers: Create a problematic work environment, and it could take a toll on employee health.

The takeaway for workers updates the maxim that people don't leave jobs, they leave bosses. If you have a toxic manager, getting out of that situation could literally be better for your heart.
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