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Tuesday 16.10.2018 | Name days: Daiga, Dinija

40% of residents in Latvia have experienced work-related health problems

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUNearly 40% of Latvia’s residents have experienced work-related health problems. 31% have experienced physical health problems, and 7% said they have experienced a «burnout» syndrome, according to results of the latest Mana Aptieka & Apotheka Health Index.

Occupational disease doctor and leading researcher of Riga Stradins University Institute for Occupational Safety and Environmental Health, Dr. Med. Jeļena Reste says results of the study reflect the situation in Latvia quite accurately.

Occupational injuries of labourers and psycho-emotional problems of office workers

«When it comes to physical health problems, they can be divided into two groups – occupational injuries (mainly accidents at work) and work-related health problems. These may include problems made manifest by the worsening of already existing health problems, back or joint pain, eye problems, etc. Among possible illnesses there are also psycho-emotional health problems, with the most common being the burnout syndrome,» explains the expert.

Data shows that residents with primary education (39%) most often experience physical health problems, whereas burnout syndrome is more often experienced by residents with higher education (13%). The expert explains that this may be related to the specifics of people’s jobs – burnout syndrome is more often experienced by people performing intellectual work and people with a large number of responsibilities. «Physical health problems often come from hazardous work environment (dust, noise, ergonomics, etc.). People’s understanding of work safety regulations also plays a major role. Burnout syndrome, on the other hand, may come as a result of poor work organization, too much work load or insufficient rest,» says the doctor.

Women «burn out» more often than men

The Health Index shows that women experience burnout syndrome twice as often as men – 9% as opposed to 5%. Age-wise, occupational health problems are more often experienced by residents aged 45-54.

«The responsibility of taking care of children, of course, sits on the shoulders of both the mother and the father. Nevertheless, the pressure is much larger for women in this regard. If a woman has to combine her role as a mother with her responsibilities at work, it means basically two shifts – having to perform duties at work and find time for children as well. Women are also more emotional and therefore more prone to worrying about everyday nuances, which only helps increase emotional pressure,» says Mana Aptieka pharmacist and Tukums Centra pharmacy manager Agnese Ritene. The pharmacist says it is important for people to find time for rest – it helps relieve stress and tension.

Reluctance to seek help

Reste says burnout syndrome surfaced in Latvia as a serious health problem in the last couple of years. Doctors diagnose fewer cases than there are in reality. She explains: «Such situations appear because people often are unable to identify signs of burnout syndrome. People who do are too reluctant to ask for help. In most cases people hope it all goes away on its own. They are also too shy to admit having emotional problems.»

«We notice this tendency from the Health Index – for the second consecutive year 12% of Latvia’s residents have admitted feeling the need to turn to a psychologist or psychotherapist, but no desire to actually go and do it. The only correct course of action after experiencing signs of physical or psycho-emotional health problems is going to see a doctor,» says Apotheka board member Jānis Kūliņš.

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