An overworked Chinese advertising employee died of a heart attack in his office aged just 24. Li Yuan had been working overtime until 11pm every night at the Ogilvy & Mather China offices in Beijing in the month before he died.
He was rushed to the Peking Union Medical College, where he was confirmed dead. Doctors said he had suffered a heart attack.
The company confirmed that one of its employees had died through its Twitter account yesterday.
The tweet read: ‘Unfortunately the sad news is true, Beijing has lost 1 of our own.
‘He was loved by all of us. Thank u for your kind msgs.’
China has now overtaken Japan as having the highest number of deaths related to overworking.
Nearly 600,000 Chinese workers die from ‘exhaustion’ each year, according to a report from last year in the official newspaper of the Communist Youth League, The China Youth Daily.
Most of the deaths are caused by stress-related heart attacks and strokes.
Symptoms associated with such deaths include insomnia, anorexia and abdominal pains.
CAN TOO MUCH STRESS REALLY CAUSE HEART ATTACKS?
Although conventional medical wisdom maintains there is no evidence of a link between mental pressure and heart conditions, recent research has found stress does increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
A 2012 study by University College, London, found that those who become stressed are more likely to suffer from hardened arteries than those who remain calm under pressure.
Doctors recruited 514 men and women with an average age of 62. None of them had signs of heart disease at the time of the test.
In a laboratory, each of the volunteers was put into a stressful situation by being asked to carry out tricky mental tests.
Levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva were then measured. Cortisol is produced by the body when it comes under mental or physical strain. When released, it can causes the arteries to narrow
The volunteers’ arteries were also scanned for signs of furring – the accumulation of fatty material on the inside walls.
Those whose cortisol levels shot up during the tests were twice as likely to have furred arteries as those who remained calm, the researchers found.
In a 2010 study, researchers analysed data from more than 68,000 people over the age of 35 years who took part in the Health Survey for England from 1994 to 2004 and measured the role of anxiety and stress in deaths from all causes, heart disease, cancer and external causes occurring over eight years.
They found symptoms of anxiety or depression, known as psychological distress, increases mortality rates from several major causes.
Alarmingly, the risk rose among those at the lower end of the scale who would not usually come to the attention of mental health services – about a quarter of people.
The British Heart Foundation claims that stress is not a direct risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Its website claims stress can lead to more smoking, drinking and overeating, but that ‘there is no evidence to suggest that stress causes coronary heart disease or heart attacks’.