Working long hours can be bad for your relationships. Working long hours can be bad for your hobbies. Working long hours can be bad for your workout routine. And now a new study has revealed that working long hours can be seriously bad for your heart as well.
The study, published in the English medical journal The Lancet, is the largest study so far that has looked at the relationship between the long hours spent at work and cardiovascular health.
The results were alarming.
The study looked at published and unpublished data from over 600,000 people in the United States, Australia and throughout Europe and compared the cardiovascular health of those who worked typical hours (35-40 hours per week) with those who worked long hours (over 55 hours per week).
The researchers in this study found that the more hours worked in a week, the more the risk for stroke increased.
People who worked between 41 to 48 hours per week had a 10 percent greater risk of stroke. Those who worked 49 to 54 hours per week had a 27 percent greater chance of stroke. And those who worked more than 55 hours per week had a 33 percent greater risk of having a stroke!
These findings are significant because in past studies, long work hours were associated with a greater risk for heart attacks, and not necessarily for strokes.
The researchers also found that people who worked more than 55 hours per week had a 13 percent greater risk of coronary heart disease. They concluded that in people who work long hours, there should be more attention paid to managing their cardiovascular risk factors.
While this study presents some interesting and new information, critics say that the findings might not be conclusive. They argue that the analysis of data didn’t fully account for the many and varied effects family history, cholesterol, and blood pressure can have.
Though demographic information was taken into account, like age, sex, and socioeconomic information, there could be other parts of a patient’s background that could cause the increased cardiovascular risk.
This study is encouraging in that it seems to give everyone a solid reason to trim their hours at work.