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Well at Work

Office Buddies Can Protect Your Health


Having friends in high places could help you land a promotion, but even being pals with your cubemate can offer huge benefits. Here’s why.

The stress that stems from your job can significantly increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels while cutting your HDL (good) cholesterol. Called dyslipidemia, these alterations in blood lipid levels have been linked to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. But according to an Israeli study, workers with the most social support at the office had a 22 percent lower risk of developing diabetes than their unsupported peers.

What’s more, those who described themselves as either over or underworked were 18 percent more likely to develop the disease. The study included more than 5,000 participants and lasted over three years.

In the study, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, the researchers went so far as to say that low levels of social support and high levels of stress in the workplace can accurately predict the development of diabetes even in seemingly healthy employees.

“You don't want to see working populations have an increasing rate of diabetes — it’s costly to both employees and employers, resulting in absenteeism and triggering expensive medical insurance,” states the study’s lead author in a press release.

The bottom line: While you may not be able to alter your workload, build relationships at the office so that you can support each other through the craziness.

Read "Office Politics: Drop Out of the Race" for more tips to improve work relationships and your health.

Tags: Health, Stress, Disease, Work