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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Overtime increases heart risk

12th May 2010

Workers who put in long hours could be significantly increasing their risk of heart disease.


Researchers who studied 6,000 British civil servants suggest that people who regularly work 10 or 11-hour days increase the risk by nearly two-thirds.

The findings published online in the European Heart Journal indicate that after accounting for known heart risk factors such as smoking, doctors found those who worked three to four hours of overtime a day ran a 60% higher risk.

In 369 cases people suffered heart disease that caused death, had a heart attack or developed angina and there appeared to be a strong link between this and the amount of overtime an individual did.

Researchers added: “Employees who work overtime may also be likely to work while ill - that is, be reluctant to be absent from work despite illness.”

They also said their findings highlighted the importance of work-life balance.

However, lead researcher Mianna Virtanen, an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki and University College London, stressed that more research was needed before they could be confident that overtime work would cause coronary heart disease.

The British Heart foundation said the study raised further questions about how working lives influences the risk of heart disease.

Senior cardiac nurse Cathy Ross said: “Although the researchers showed a link between working more than three hours overtime every day and heart problems, the reasons for the increased risk weren't clear.”

The Society of Occupational Medicine said work/life balance plays a vital role in well-being.


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