Workplace stress costing lives

Two people aged 35 and 38 collapsed and died between April and June, raising fears that workplace stress is affecting young people.

A 35-year-old bank worker collapsed and died on duty in April this year after complaining of not feeling well.

Last week, a 37-year-old Nust employee also collapsed at work in Windhoek and was rushed to the hospital, where he succumbed to his ailment.

Wilbert Majoni, a specialist physician in pulmonology and cardiology, said many youths are now afflicted with heart disease and pulmonary embolism.

He states that pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot that develops in a blood vessel elsewhere in the body, travels to an artery in the lung, and suddenly forms a blockage of the artery that can cause sudden death.

He said that this, in turn, causes hypoxia, which occurs when oxygen is insufficient at the tissue level to maintain adequate stability.

He further stated that signs of PE include low blood oxygen levels, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, and sometimes a mild fever. Severe cases can lead to passing out, abnormally low blood pressure, obstructive shock, and sudden death.

“A significant major factor I observed was workplace stress and mental wellbeing of the youth. People need to balance medical wellness with mental and societal wellbeing of the body and I encourage workplaces to have mental and psychological centre to help out workers who are burnt out, stressed or likely having difficulty coping with work-life balance,” he explained.

He expressed that the causes of inflammation are chronic conditions like autoimmune disease, where the body’s natural defence system can’t tell the difference between its cells and foreign cells, causing the body to attack normal cells mistakenly.

Other factors include lupus, HIV/ AIDS, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease, which contribute to pulmonary embolisms and heart diseases early in the youth.

“More people under the age of 40 are suffering from heart attacks and strokes, according to the world heart federation and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Namibia after HIV/Aids and stroke,” he added.

Majoni highlighted that many young people don’t go for annual check-ups, which are essential to check the organs such as the kidney, liver, heart, lungs, brain, and sugar and cholesterol levels in the body.

He stressed the importance of those check-ups to identify those who are at risk of diseases that could potentially damage the body functions and also to establish factors such as family history with hypertension, diabetes and genetic diseases.