Working back, putting in some overtime — we’ve probably all done this at least once (or more) in our lives. And while most of us would like to pack up and head home on time, we know that sometimes the standard nine to five shift just isn’t the case.
Sure we can assume putting in extra hours isn’t doing ourselves any favours, but how is it actually affecting our health? Reduced productivity — check! Increased fatigue and stress — you got it! All of this is easily relatable, but what’s worse is now it seems that heart disease and stroke are on the cards, too.
In a study published in The Lancet this week, it found a strong link between those who work 55 or more hours per week to cardiovascular disease. There was a 33 per cent increased risk of stroke and a 13 per cent greater chance of developing coronary heart disease, compared to those who managed to stick to the standard 35 to 40-hour work week. What’s really interesting is, that the findings didn’t vary between men and women or between geographical regions.
The study also looked at data that was gathered by 25 previous studies which involved more than 600,000 men and women in Europe, the US and Australia who were observed for 8.5 years. And again, the results found a 13 per cent increased risk of heart disease for people who were working 55 hours or more each week.
“Health professionals should be aware that working long hours is associated with a significantly increased risk of stroke, and perhaps also coronary heart disease,” said Professor Mika Kivimaki, the lead author of the study.
“Employees who work long hours have a higher risk of stroke than those working standard hours; the association with coronary heart disease is weaker. These findings suggest that more attention should be paid to the management of vascular risk factors in individuals who work long hours.”
It’s not exactly sure what the link is, but it can be assumed that the extra stress, fatigue and unhealthy behaviors that come with working longer hours could be to blame. Want to boost your heart health? Try these tips for a healthier heart in seven days.