People who spend long hours at work have an increased risk of heart disease, one of the latest study has found.
Several previous researches suggested that having too much time at work can affect our health. Many of them have linked long working hours with cardiovascular disease (CVD), but this is the first study to show a “dose-response”, one of the study authors, Sadie H. Conway, of University of Texas Health Sciences Center wrote.
A long-term study examined 1,926 participants taken from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. They were employed for 10 years or more at full-time jobs and did not have any heart problems at the beginning of the study. The results showed that 43 percent of them received cardiovascular disease-related diagnosis, such as heart attack, heart failure, angina, coronary artery disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
The results implied that participants’ risk for cardiovascular disease gradually increased the more hours they worked. On average, full-time employees clocked in 45 hours of work per week in a period of 10 years or more. The findings were pointing out that for extra work hour spent weekly, the risk increased by 1 percent in the span of at least 10 years among the employees who had full-time jobs.
In particular, those who worked 55 hours a week for 10 years had a 16 percent higher risk of heart disease than participants who averaged 45 hours per week. More seriously, those who averaged 60 hours had a 35 percent greater risk.
Overall, the study showed that the negative effects of work increase together with the number of hours the workers spent.
“The findings did not apply to part-time workers, according to the study in the March issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine,” UPI explained.
In addition, the researchers did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between long hours at work and increased heart disease risk.
“This study provides specific evidence on long work hours and an increase [in] the risk of [cardiovascular disease],thereby providing a foundation for CVD prevention efforts focused on work schedule practices, which may reduce the risk of CVD for millions of working Americans” said Conway.
To lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, reducing the working hours is not the only way. There are several other effective ways including regularly exercising, proper management of stress, limiting alcohol, eating a healthy diet and avoiding smoking.
The findings were disclosed in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.