Working longer hours than a typical 35-40 hour work week could increase risk of stroke and coronary heart disease, new study finds.
A report in the Lancet this month has reviewed all available studies that had previously assessed working hours as a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke. The report included 25 studies from the USA, Europe, and Australia.
The analysis adjusted for factors such as age, sex, and socioeconomic status when assessing either standard working hours (35-40 hours per week) or longer working hours (more than 55 hours per week). The study revealed an increased risk of both coronary heart disease and stroke in participants with longer working hours.
Risk of stroke was found to increase in a step-wise manner with increasing working hours. For example, risk of stroke increased in participants who worked 41-48 hours per week, and increased again in participants who worked 49-54 hours per week, with greatest risk seen in participants who worked for 55 or more hours per week.
The authors suggest that people who work for longer hours should make a greater effort to counter the effects seen in the study in terms of vascular risk factors.
Kivimäki, M, Jokela, M, Nyberg, ST, Singh-Manoux, A, Fransson, EI, Alfredsson, L, Bjorner, JB, Borritz, M, Burr, H, Casini, A, Clays, E, De Bacquer, D, Dragano, N, Erbel, R, Geuskens, GA, Hamer, M, Hooftman, WE, Houtman, IL, Jöckel, K-H, Kittel, F, Knutsson, A, Koskenvuo, M, Lanau, T< Madsen, IEH, Nielsen, ML, Nordin, M, Oksanen, T, Pejtersen, JH, Pentti, J, Rugulies, R, Salo, P, Shipley, MJ, Siegrist, J, Steptoe, A, Suominen, SB, Theorell, T, Vahtera, J, Westerholm, PJM, Westerlund, H, O’Reilly, D, Kumari, M, Batty, GD, Ferrie, JE, Virtanen, M. for the IPD-Work Consortium “Long working hours and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished data for 603 838 individuals” Lancet, Published Online: 19 August 2015
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Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD