Working extra hours in office? Well it’s time to take a pause for a cause as a new study has linked working long hours to greater risk of coronary heart disease or a stroke.
In the study, researchers analysed data from 25 studies involving 6,03,838 men and women from Europe, the USA, and Australia who were followed for an average of 8.5 years.
They found a 13 percent increased risk of incident coronary heart disease in people working 55 hours or more per week compared with those putting in a normal 35 to 40 hour week, even after taking into account risk factors including age, sex, and socioeconomic status.
Analysis of data from 17 studies involving 5,28,908 men and women who were followed up for an average of 7.2 years, found a 1.3 times higher risk of stroke in individuals working 55 hours or more a week compared with those working standard hours.
This association remained even after taking into account health behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity, and standard cardiovascular risk factors including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Importantly, the researchers found that the longer people worked, the higher their chances of a stroke.
The authors suggested that increasing health-risk behaviors, such as physical inactivity and high alcohol consumption, as well as repetitive triggering of the stress response, might increase the risk of stroke.
Mika Kivimaki of the University College London said that health professionals should be aware that working long hours was associated with a significantly increased risk of stroke, and perhaps also coronary heart disease.
The study is published in the journal Lancet.