When job-related stress takes its toll, it does not just affect a person's mental state but also impacts their physical well-being. A new study says men who are underappreciated at work are twice as likely to develop heart disease compared to others.

In the latest study, published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, researchers looked into data from over 6,400 participants to understand how various types of work stress affect heart health.

They evaluated the impact of job strain and effort-reward imbalance at work on heart health. Job strain refers to situations when people have high job demands and work in settings that do not give them any control. Effort-reward imbalance happens when employees benefit only little reward in terms of compensation, promotions and stability in return for the efforts.

Some participants reported job strain, others had effort-reward imbalance and some of them suffered both. Among those who experienced either job strain or effort-reward imbalance, there was a 49% increased risk of coronary heart disease compared to the control group. When a person was affected by both, there was a 103% increase in heart disease risk.

Results indicate that high-stress work can double the risk of men developing heart attacks and other complications. The findings were inconclusive when they examined the impact of stress on women's heart health.

"Early interventions on these psychosocial stressors at work in men may be effective prevention strategies to reduce CHD (coronary heart disease) burden. Among women, further investigation is required," the researchers wrote.

The study was not a causative analysis, and so, it cannot explain how or why job stress affects cardiac health. Experts believe that with job stress, there is an increase in plaque accumulation and a spike in blood pressure that puts strain on the heart. Reduced sleep and overeating induced by stress can further aggravate the risk.

"Considering the significant amount of time people spend at work, understanding the relationship between work stressors and cardiovascular health is crucial for public health and workforce well-being," lead study author Mathilde Lavigne-Robichaud said in a news release. "Our study highlights the pressing need to proactively address stressful working conditions, to create healthier work environments that benefit employees and employers."