CDC: Factor in job to ID at-risk heart patients

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Employees who work in service and blue-collar industries were more likely to report a history of coronary heart disease or stroke in an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The results may help clinicians identify at-risk patients and develop prevention strategies.

The CDC focused on workers under 55 years old in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published Aug. 1. Analysts evaluated data from the National Health Interview Survey from 2008 through 2012 to estimate the prevalence of self-reported coronary heart disease and stroke in 91,331 respondents who were under 55. They categorized respondents by employment status, occupation category and industry.

Employed adults were less likely to report a history of coronary heart disease or stroke compared with unemployed adults and adults who were not part of the labor force, at 1.9 percent vs. 2.5 percent vs. 6.3 percent. Workers in blue-collar industries and service industries had a higher prevalence than white-collar workers or farm workers. Workers categorized as administrative and support and waste management and remediation services as well as accommodation and food services had the highest prevalence rates.

Analysts pointed to workplace stress, shift work, exposure to particulates, noise and secondhand smoke as possible occupational risk factors. They added that some occupations may provide workers with better access to preventive services.

As part of the Million Hearts initiative, the CDC aims to prevent 1 million strokes and MIs by 2017 through interventions. Programs that combine health protection and promotion such as the CDC’s Total Worker Health approach may be most effective in reaching that goal, they wrote.

“Clinicians should consider the potentially increased risk for CHD [coronary heart disease]/stroke in their working-age patients and take occupation and industry into account when developing prevention and treatment plans,” they advised.