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Long work hours associated with higher risk of stroke and heart disease

The Internet has been great for society in many ways, but one way it has been a “mixed blessing” is that it has extended the workday for many people. The Internet is almost forcing some people to extend their workdays until the evenings or even weekends at home. According to recent research published in the medical journal Lancet, lengthening of workday may come a significant price to personal health.

The researchers examined the records of over 600,000 workers and found that people who work over 55 hours per week suffer a 33% increased risk of a stroke, and a 13% higher risk of coronary heart disease, than people who work a more regular 35 to 40 hours per week.

And in general, at least for stroke, the longer the workweek, the higher the risk. People who work 41 through 45 hours per week were noted to have a 10% increased risk of stroke, and those working 49 to 54 hours had a 27% higher stroke risk than people working 40 or less hours.

The data was collected by statistically examining 25 previous research studies on the subject, and the workers were from Europe, the USA, and Australia. While the researchers note their analysis does not prove that “overwork” leads to these risks, the study is strongly suggestive, and the authors suggest the possible mechanisms of this health risk.

The researchers hypothesize that much of the excess risk is due to: people working long hours being in higher stress jobs which likewise stresses our heart and blood vessels; that people working longer hours seem to drink more alcohol; and, probably most important, people who work long hours are likely inactive for too long.

We have previously reported here the strong association with sitting too long and increased risk of dying younger. Even people who are good exercisers are at metabolic risk if they spend too many hours sitting each day.

Keep this study in mind if you are one of those who put in too many hours each week. If you can’t decrease your work hours, at least you should concentrate on getting up and stretching (and hopefully taking at least a few steps to move your big hip muscles around) every 30 minutes. Further, the more of your work that can be done standing, the better.

Should you wish to find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, visit our website:

See also in ProcuraMed:

Sitting too long can undo all the benefits of an exercise program

5 curiosities about sex in middle age and beyond

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)