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11 May 2010
Long hours in the office mean you might be more likely to have a heart problem, according to new research.
The study – part funded by the BHF – examined the link between working overtime and a higher risk of coronary heart disease in white collar workers.
It showed that there was a 60% increase in the risk of heart related problems in full time workers who regularly worked three or more hours of overtime a day.
Cathy Ross, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said:
“This study raises further questions about how our working lives can influence our risk of heart disease. Although the researchers showed a link between working more than three hours overtime everyday and heart problems the reasons for the increased risk weren’t clear.
“The researchers suggest a number of reasons - ‘hidden’ high blood pressure, reduced sleeping hours and psychological stress. These may affect the mechanisms that cause heart disease, but it could simply be that working long hours means we’ve less time to look after ourselves.
“If we’re stuck in the office we’ve less time to relax, get a good night’s sleep, and take enough physical activity, all of which have been found to help reduce stress levels and protect against heart disease.
“Until researchers understand how our working lives can affect the risk to our heart health there are simple ways to look after your heart health at work, like taking a brisk walk at lunch, taking the stairs instead of the lift, or by swapping that biscuit for a piece of fruit.”
Read the full study in the European Heart Journal.