As a country, we're busier than ever. Productivity has increased by around 80 percent since the 1970s, but 40% of Americans get under seven hours of sleep a night. The pre-cation may be a wonderful and unexpected perk in these stressful, overworked times. While we as Americans pride ourselves on our work ethic, the stress is affecting our health in profound ways.
The Carrington health blog has reported that new research from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital is offering a clearer picture of just how stress impacts our physical well-being. Their studies found that workers in an ICU, a very high-stress work environment, had significantly higher white blood cell counts than their off-duty counterparts. Elevated stress levels caused more inflammatory leukocytes to be produced -- a type of white blood cell that's usually produced to fight disease. Produced in excessive amounts, however, it can lead to plaque buildup, stroke and heart attack.