Working more than 55 hours a week increases the risk of heart problems

by Beatrice Credi - 2017.07.17

Working more than 55 hours a week raises your risk of developing serious heart problems by 40%. Long shifts were already known to increase the risk of stroke, but the link with heart rhythm problems – known by the medical term atrial fibrillation – was not previously known. A study of more than 85,500 British and Scandinavian people found those who worked long hours were far more likely to develop atrial fibrillation over the next decade. The findings, published in the European Heart Journal, revealed that for every 1,000 people in the study, an extra 5.2 cases of atrial fibrillation occurred among those working long hours. Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disturbance, affecting around one million people in the UK, and can lead to stroke, heart failure and dementia. This suggests the increased risk is likely to reflect the effect of long working hours rather than the effect of any pre-existing or concurrent cardiovascular disease, but further research is needed to understand the mechanisms involved.

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