The disease of modernity: managerial syndrome

Modern pace of life leaves little room for us to take care of our health. Our main excuse for lack of self-care: no time. This article is aimed at raising awareness of the necessity to stop and think. And then act to prevent health complications.

Dr Ivana Petrović

What is managerial syndrome?

Managerial syndrome is a disease that occurs as a result of a long-term exposure to stress at work. It equally endangers men and women in managerial positions with a high level of responsibility, ambitious people obsessed with work. These people are often said to live “200 kilometres per hour”.

With the addition of irregular nutrition, smoking, too much coffee and too many caffeinated drinks, quick relaxation with several glasses of alcohol, all the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle and bad habits start to appear at one’s most productive age. The race for the accomplishment of plans and goals leaves little time for sleep, rest, hobbies, socializing, going for walks or sports.

Who belongs to the risk group?

People in leading positions, business people, entrepreneurs, bankers and also people in high-risk jobs: journalists, flight controllers, surgeons, anesthetists, professional athletes, stock market workers.
Why does managerial syndrome develop?
Stress is an unforeseen circumstance, an external stimulus that arouses negative emotions, which then cause neurological, hormonal and immunological changes in the body, which affect health. The cause of stress is not the external circumstances, but a person’s response to these circumstances – usually a too abrupt and too emotional reaction to external stimulus. At the initial stage, stress is stimulating, but later long-term stress suppresses the activity of the immune system. The negative effect of stress on the immune system is partly due to the elimination of the corticosteroid hormone and partly due to the alternative mechanisms which are being intensively investigated. The stress experience reduces the production of specific antibodies, and impaired immunity is a good foundation for the development of many diseases. In the period when we are under stress, we are more likely to catch a viral infection, such as herpes or flu.

What are the signs?

Symptoms of managerial syndrome can be psychic: disorder of concentration or memory, irritability, nervousness, insomnia, sometimes feeling depressed.

The physical (somatic) symptoms of managerial syndrome are: increased sweating, accelerated or irregular heartbeat, muscle tension, headache, back pain, uncomfortable feeling in the chest (usually felt as tightness, pressure, weight, piercing, choking), pains and cramps in the stomach, blood pressure oscillations, weight gain.

Fortunately, managerial syndrome does not start suddenly and out of the blue; instead, certain symptoms occur and intensify gradually, so the manager only gets signals from his body that it is time to slow down and check his or her health.

What are the consequences of managerial syndrome?

However, a lot of managers neglect their health due to a lack of time, the burden of everyday work and focus on business goals. Because they neglect the symptoms, managers often miss the moment or the period in which they can act preventively and in this way avoid serious health consequences.
Therefore, after some time, arterial hypertension develops – elevated blood pressure, coronary disease (“angina pectoris”), stomach ulcer, twelve-colon ulcer, irritable colon (“nervous colon”), ulcerative colitis, diabetes, thyroid misfunction, bronchial asthma, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or atopic dermatitis.

Unregulated blood pressure can cause a stroke, and elevated blood pressure and coronary disease can result in a heart attack.

In addition to daily stress, other factors contribute to the occurrence of these serious diseases, such as inactivity, smoking, consumption of alcohol and excessive intake of fatty, salty and high-calorie food.

Is there a way to avoid the consequences of managerial syndrome?

     Prevention is in the first place. It is necessary to respect the basic principles of a healthy lifestyle, which means proper and balanced nutrition, everyday physical activity and regular sleep.
The annual medical check-up involves detailed laboratory analyzes of blood and urine, determining the degree of nutrition, for example BMI – index of body weight and body composition, pulmonary function test – spirometry, ECG, ultrasound examination of the abdomen, ultrasound examination of the heart with doppler and exercise stress test that facilitates early detection of coronary artery disease.
Managerial check-up for women also involves a gynecological examination for the early diagnosis of cervical cancer, breast examination (mammography for those who are older than 40 or ultrasound for those who are under the age of 40), as well as an ultrasound examination of the thyroid gland.
Managerial check-up for men older than 50 involves a blood test – a prostate tumor marker (PSA) with the goal of early detection of prostatic cancer or benign prostate enlargement.
The hem check test of the stool is advisable for both men and women before the age of 50, with a goal of an early diagnosis of colorectal disease, and after the age of 50 – colonoscopy.
Do not postpone your annual check-up and get it done before you feel any discomfort.
Thanks to the doctor’s recommendations and therapy, if necessary, it will be faster and easier for you to eliminate or reduce risk factors and preserve health.
And when you discover on a routine examination a disease that does not show any symptoms, it is, as a rule, successfully and efficiently treated at its early stage.
In the end, when all your results show that you are in top shape, do not forget to check your health at the same time the following year.
You will realize that investing your time and effort, together with of your doctor’s knowledge and experience, bring incredible benefits in the upcoming years!


The universal recommendation for a healthy lifestyle was first published in the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Guide of the European Association of Cardiologists in 2007 and it is contained in this formula:
0 – 3 – 5 – 140 – 5 – 3 – 0.
This magical health formula actually means:
0 – no cigarettes
3 – 3 km of fast walking or 30 minutes of moderate activity per day
5 – 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day
140 – systolic “upper” blood pressure below 140 mm Hg
5 – total cholesterol in blood <5 mmol / I
3 – LDL “bad” cholesterol <3 mmol / I
0 – no weight gain or diabetes

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