Jobs That Are Astonishingly Terrible for Your Health

You’re likely to spend more time at your job than you are doing anything else. Even if you spend the rest of your day participating in healthy eating and physical activity, your unhealthy job might still have a lasting negative impact. There are certainly some jobs with immediate dangers that come to mind, but even desk workers may be putting their bodies at risk. From high blood pressure to extreme stress levels, some occupations are more likely to cause health issues than others, and it’s important to be aware of the health dangers you could be facing. Watch out for these jobs that will mess with your health in a big way.

1. Truck drivers and other transportation workers

Man driving a truck

Truck driving is awful for your health. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

If your daily hour-long commute seems difficult enough, try being on the road for all hours of the day with little access to healthy foods or gym facilities. This is the life of a truck driver, so it’s no wonder why the job is one of the worst for your health. According to Overdrive, a study performed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found nearly 1,700 truck drivers surveyed had chronic disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and sleep deprivation. Out of the general U.S. adult working population, 54% had at least one of these risk factors. For truck drivers, this rate rose to a startling 88%. If you count yourself among one of these employees, you might want to talk to your doctor about ways to keep your time on the road as healthy as possible.

2. Cubicle workers

Working in a cubicle can be bad for productivity

Working in a cubicle can be bad for productivity. | iStock.com

Hunching over a computer for the majority of the day while getting little exercise is one of the worst things for your health. And, what’s even worse is your office or cubicle environment can also kill productivity. According to The Huffington Post, employees who work in open-office or cubicle environments are more likely to have difficulty focusing thanks to numerous interruptions. It’s also easy for bacteria and viruses to spread throughout an open office layout, making cubicle workers more susceptible to sickness than others.

Then, there’s the sedentary lifestyle, which can contribute to disease later down the road. Sitting for so long can cause everything from neck pain to weight gain, so it’s crucial to make a conscious effort to move throughout the day if this is your work setup.

3. Firefighters

a firefighter fighting a fire in a field

Being a firefighter can raise your risk of a heart attack. | iStock.com

Firefighters have one of the most dangerous jobs out there, and though running through heavy smoke is bound to have an effect on the lungs, it’s not necessarily the fire that puts them at risk. Firefighters, and any type of emergency responder, are under incredible stress to rush to the job and save lives. This much stress can wreak havoc on the body. And that’s just the start.

Firefighters are also at a high risk of developing cardiac issues and falling victim to heart attacks. According to NBC News, firefighters are up to 100 times more likely to have a heart attack while battling a fire, and this risk doesn’t dramatically reduce after the blaze is under control, either. The stress and strenuous task of battling a fire and the smoke inhalation can put a lot of strain on the heart.

4. Dentists and dental surgeons

a dentist checking on a patient

Dentists are exposed to pathogens and bacteria. | iStock.com

As if it weren’t tough enough being everyone’s least favorite doctor, dentists have a job that’s awful for their health, too. Dentistry can be tough on the back because of the angle in which dentists have to sit. They spend the majority of their day sitting as well, which we’ve already covered. And because of the high exposure to bacteria in patients’ mouths, it can be tough for dentists to keep themselves healthy. RDH Magazine explains any dentist, dental hygienist, dental surgeon, or dental assistant is exposed to way more diseases and infections than the average person. Dentists may be exposed to herpetic lesions, the flu, and the common cold on an everyday basis, and those diseases can also linger on the medical equipment they’re using before it’s washed.

5. Flight attendants

a flight attendant explaining safety rules to passengers

Flight attendants have disrupted sleep patterns that are bad for their health. | Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

You may not think that the job of a flight attendant would be particularly taxing on the body and mind, but the long hours, time zone changes, and air conditions are cause for concern. While the average person may wake up at the same time each morning to get to work, a flight attendant works demanding hours that vary greatly depending on where they have to travel. This can throw off their sleep pattern for days, weeks, or months at a time. It may even cause extreme fatigue and difficulty sleeping in the long run, which messes with hormone levels, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sleep disruption isn’t the only concern for flight attendants, either. The CDC reports there’s also worry radiation from space can impact the health of flight attendants and raise their cancer risks. For those who are constantly at flight altitudes, exposure is higher.