Could the Stress at Work Kill You?

Every year, millions of workers suffer disabling injuries and thousands lose their lives to work-related stress.

In the movie "Network," a stressed out news anchor loses it on live television, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore," he screams as he storms off set.

Other movies feature employees crashing computers and bashing fax machines.

But are these examples of art imitating life?

Three-quarters of Americans in a new study say they experience nerve-racking moments at work -- though few people are aware that those hostile job conditions can be deadly.

"Repeated exposure to workplace stress can definitely increase the risk of a heart attack, death or stroke," said Dr. Pk Shah, director of cardiology at the Cedar Sinai Medical Center.

The Journal of American Medical Association study, whose results were published on Oct. 10, found people who return to a stressful job after recovering from a heart attack are twice as likely than those without stress to experience another one.

"This should be a wake up call not only for patients," Shah said, "but also for employers, because employers should recognize that chronic exposure can have a very adverse effect on their employees' health."

Inner city high school teachers, police officers, miners and air traffic controllers are among those with the most stressful jobs in America, according to Health magazine.

"Four controllers that I have known over the years I've have been at O'Hare have died of a heart attack," former air traffic controller Bob Richards said. "And you say, 'Well, people die; that happens. Let me give you the ages -- 29, 30, 38, 39. Now if that's normal, then I must be missing something."

And if someone thinks they can escape the stresses of work by going home, they should think again. A second study of 4,000 men and women published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine said how someone argues with a spouse could also affect their heart.

Women who don't speak their minds are four times more likely to die than those who do.

"One of the biggest coping mechanisms is not keeping your feelings bottled up," ABC News workplace contributor Tory Johnson said. "By not venting by not making their feelings known whether it's at home or work they are at greater risk for stress and all kinds of physical and mental illness

ABC's Andrea Canning contributed to this report.

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