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People working every week 55 hours or more have a more than 33 percent higher risk of having a stroke or developing a heart disease than people who usually work between 35 hours and 40 hours per week, a recent study shows.
Scientists also found that working overtime only one additional hour per day may boost your chance of having a stroke in the next decade by up to 10 percent. Those who spent even more hours at work had also an increased risk of heart disease. Ironically, heart surgeons are the health professionals who spend the longest hours at their post each week – about 61 hours on average.
Researchers believe that after a certain threshold the human body becomes stressed and triggers some metabolic changes that may spell trouble on the long run.
The recent study is a review of 25 studies which had gathered data on more than 600,000 U.S., European, and Australian patients over the course of nearly a decade. The link between hard work and heightened risk of stroke remained consistent even after researchers adjusted the results for other risk factors such as smoking, age, history of cardiovascular disease, and physical activity.
Mika Kivimäki, lead author of the study and researcher at the University College London, argued that the longer people stayed at their posts the higher their risk of stroke was. The study found that people who worked 41-48 hours had a 10 percent higher chance of stroke than their peers who were not so excessive. Plus, people who worked 49-54 had a nearly 30 percent of having a stroke.
Nevertheless, study authors admitted that they could only find a link between working overtime and stroke risk not a cause-and-effect association. Other experts believe that the risk of stroke may be linked to the stress at work so heart doctors should take extra measures when dealing with a stressed out patient due to long work hours.
In Europe, the British work on average 37 hours per week, while the Greeks have the longest working week on the continent with 42 hours on average.
Past studies had also shown that overtime may have negative health outcomes. For instance, several studies had revealed that prolonged working hours may take their toll on a woman’s ability of conceiving.
A recent study led by the University of California had shown that workers who spent more than 51 hours at their post have a nearly 30 percent higher risk of having high blood pressure than those who worked standard hours.
The latest study was published this week in the medical journal Lancet.
Image Source: Capital (blog)
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