Working Long Hours At The Office Ups Risk For Heart Disease


Burning the midnight oil at work increases risk for heart disease, a study has found. A long-term study examined over 1,900 participants and, in the course of the study, 43 percent of the participants received cardiovascular disease-related diagnosis.

These health conditions included heart attack, heart failure, angina, coronary artery disease, stroke and high blood pressure. The findings were disturbing: for each extra work hour spent weekly, the risk increased by 1 percent in the span of 10 years or more among the employees who worked full-time.

On average, full-time employees clocked in 45 hours of work per week in a period of 10 years or more. The participants who clocked in 55 hours of work per week had 16 percent increased risk for developing heart disease. Those who really worked long hours, around 60 hours of work per week, had 35 percent increased risk.

The research did not look into the data of part-time workers. Moreover, the study did not analyze the cause-and-effect association between working long hours and increased risk of developing heart disease.

"This study provides specific evidence on long work hours and an increase [in] the risk of [cardiovascular disease]," said University of Texas Health Science Center's Sadie Conway who is one of the study authors.

The findings can become a foundation for the intervention efforts of cardiovascular disease that are focused on full-time employees' work schedule procedures. These could help lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease among millions of working individuals in the U.S.

The findings were published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Apart from cutting down on work hours by maintaining a healthy average of 45 work hours weekly, here are some tips on how to prevent the development of heart disease according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Stop smoking. Once and for all, go cold turkey and drop the smoking habit.
  • Alcohol increases blood pressure. Limiting your intake and will help reduce heart disease risk.
  • Switch and stick to a healthy diet made up of fresh vegetables and fruits, which includes both full meals and snacks. Limit the intake of sodium (salt).
  • Lose weight. Being obese or overweight increases the risk of developing heart disease. Trim down by fixing your eating habits as well as exercising regularly.

Photo : Gabriel Saldana | Flickr

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