Working long hours 'raises heart attack risk'

April 5, 2011, University College London

(PhysOrg.com) -- Working more than 11 hours a day increases your risk of heart disease by 67 per cent, compared with those working a standard 7-8 hours a day, according to a new University College London study.

The authors suggest that information on working hours could be useful to GPs when calculating a patient’s risk of , alongside other health measures such as blood pressure, diabetes and smoking habits.

The research, led by Professor Mika Kivimaki (UCL Epidemiology & Public Health) and funded by the Medical Research Council, used data from the Whitehall II study which has followed the health and wellbeing of over 10,000 civil service workers since 1985. For this study, men and women who worked full time and were free of heart disease or angina at the start of the study were selected, a total of 7095 study participants.

The researchers collected information on heart risk factors, such as age, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking habits, and diabetes. They also asked participants how many hours they worked (daytime and work brought home) on an average weekday. During the 11-year follow-up, the researchers collected information about heart health, including those who had suffered from heart attacks, from medical screenings every 5 years, hospital data, and health records. They found that adding working hours to the normal assessment measures of risk of heart disease improved the ability of doctors to predict the risk of heart disease by five percent.

Professor Kivimäki said: "We have shown that working long days is associated with a remarkable increase in risk of heart disease. Considering that including a measurement of working hours in a GP interview is so simple and useful, our research presents a strong case that it should become standard practice. This new information should help improve decisions regarding medication for heart disease. It could also be a wake-up call for people who overwork themselves, especially if they already have other risk factors."

The study was also funded by the BUPA Foundation, the British Heart Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The research is published today in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

More information: www.annals.org/content/154/7/457.full

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Number of older people with four or more diseases will double by 2035, say researchers

January 23, 2018
A study published today in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, reports that the number of older people diagnosed with four or more diseases will double between 2015 and 2035. A third ...

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Group suggests pushing age of adolescence to 24

January 22, 2018
A small group of researchers with the Royal Children's Hospital in Australia is suggesting that it might be time to change the span of years that define adolescence—from the current 10 to 19 to a proposed 10 to 24 years ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.