Those Long Hours at the Office Could Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease
A new study published by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found a relationship between work schedules and cardiovascular complications. Simply put, the more time you spend working, the greater your relative risk for heart disease.
To determine this, researchers tracked 1,926 individuals from 1986 to 2011. During that time period, more than 40 percent of participants were diagnosed with heart disease. Interestingly, the researchers determined that the more hours someone worked per week, on average, the more likely he or she was to be diagnosed cardiovascular disease.
After controlling for factors including age, sex and income, the researchers determined that, over a 10-year period, participants who worked a 55-hour-week were 16 percent more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease diagnosis than those who only worked 45 hours per week. As the number of work hours per week increased, so did this relative risk. Participants who worked 60 hours per week were 35 percent more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease than those who worked 45 hours, while those who worked 70-hour-weeks were 74 percent more likely.
Previous observational studies have linked long work hours to negative health consequences, including increased rates of blood pressure and hypertension. However, according to the study, none have assessed the “dose-relationship” (i.e. more hours, more risk) between the two factors using such a large sample.
As the leading cause of death in the U.S., cardiovascular disease affects one in three adults in the country. Still, while the researchers behind the study want to further analyze the relationship between work and heart disease to better understand the link, they aren’t recommending we change our schedules just yet.
“I would never tell a person ‘don’t work long hours’ because of this risk,” Sadie H. Conway, the lead researcher of the study and an assistant professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health, told The New York Times. “But it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored from a public health standpoint.”
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