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Workhorses, Stop! Study Claims that More than 10-Hour Shifts Can Up Risk of Strokes

A new study shows that long work hours seem to up the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It's high time to change your lifestyle.

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Updated:June 22, 2019, 12:44 PM IST
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Workhorses, Stop! Study Claims that More than 10-Hour Shifts Can Up Risk of Strokes
Image: Getty Images

If you have been pulling off 10-hour or longer shifts in the hope of impressing your boss, or winning the Employee of the Month award, you might want to put an end to the unhealthy practice as soon as possible.

A new study warns that people who worked long hours, especially for 10 years or more, had a higher risk of stroke.

The research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke used data from CONSTANCES, a French population-based study group started in 2012, for information on age (18-69), sex, smoking and work hours derived from questionnaires from 143,592 participants. Cardiovascular risk factors and previous stroke occurrences were noted from separate medical interviews.

They found that overall 1,224 of the participants, suffered strokes; 29% or 42,542, reported working long hours; 10% or 14,481, reported working long hours for 10 years or more; and participants working long hours had a 29% greater risk of stroke, and those working long hours for 10 years or more had a 45% greater risk of stroke.

Long work hours were defined as working more than 10 hours for at least 50 days per year.

“The association between 10 years of long work hours and stroke seemed stronger for people under the age of 50,” study author Alexis Descatha was quoted as saying.

“This was unexpected. Further research is needed to explore this finding,” said Descatha, who works as researcher at Paris Hospital, Versailles and Angers University and at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm).

She further said that many healthcare providers work much more than the definition of long working hours and may also be at higher risk of stroke. As a clinician, I will advise my patients to work more efficiently and I plan to follow my own advice," Descatha said.

Previous studies have noted a smaller effect of long work hours among business owners, CEOs, farmers, professionals and managers, according to the American Heart Association. This might be because those groups generally have greater decision latitude than other workers, researchers believe.

In addition, other studies have suggested that irregular shifts, night work and job strain may be responsible for unhealthy work conditions.

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