Longer work hours linked to stroke risk

Aug 20, 2015, 4:18 PM EDT
Study author Mika Kivimaki, a professor of epidemiology, and her colleagues found a similar but more modest link between working long hours and an increased risk of coronary heart disease in a separate meta-analysis they conducted. Those who worked 55 or more hours a week had a 13 percent increased risk of a new diagnosis, hospitalization or death from heart disease.  "The pooling of all available studies on this stoic allowed us to investigate the association between working hours and cardiovascular risk w
Getty Images
An analysis of 17 studies that involved hundreds of thousands of men and women from Europe, the United States and Australia conducted by the University College London found that the more hours people work, the higher their risk of stroke is. Published in the British medical journal the Lancet, the research found that people who work 55 hours or more per week have a 33% greater risk of stroke and a 13% greater risk of coronary heart disease than those working standard hours. The New York Times reports:
 
The new analysis includes data on more than 600,000 individuals in Europe, the United States and Australia, and is the largest study thus far of the relationship between working hours and cardiovascular health. But the analysis was not designed to draw conclusions about what caused the increased risk and could not account for all relevant confounding factors.
 
“Earlier studies have pointed to heart attacks as a risk of long working hours, but not stroke,” said Dr. Urban Janlert, a professor of public health at Umea University in Sweden, who wrote an accompanying editorial. “That’s surprising.”
 
Mika Kivimaki, a professor of epidemiology at University College London, and his colleagues combined the results of multiple studies and tried to account for factors that might skew the results. In addition to culling data from published studies, the researchers also compiled unpublished information from public databases and asked authors of previous work for additional data.
 
 
Study author Mika Kivimaki, a professor of epidemiology, and her colleagues found a similar but more modest link between working long hours and an increased risk of coronary heart disease in a separate meta-analysis they conducted. Those who worked 55 or more hours a week had a 13 percent increased risk of a new diagnosis, hospitalization or death from heart disease.
 
"The pooling of all available studies on this stoic allowed us to investigate the association between working hours and cardiovascular risk with greater precision than has previously been possible," Kivimaki said in a statement.
 
Concern over the impact of long hours on a person's health has been growing in recent years. Earlier this month, a study in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine by researchers at Harvard and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that working more than 40 hours a week and regularly engaging in heavy lifting may adversely impact a woman's ability to become pregnant.
 
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE