Study Finds Long Work Days Can Cause Heart Problemsadmin
A team of researchers, led by University College London, has found that working more than 55 hours a week increased one’s risk of developing an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation (AF) by 40% compared to those with a better work-life balance, the Guardian reported. AF occurs when the electrical impulses which naturally control the heart’s regular rhythm “lose their coordination.” A person with AF is five times more likely to have a stroke and can occasionally be present with no symptoms at all. Other sufferers may present with palpitations or may feel breathless or dizzy.
The team analyzed the “working patterns of 85,494 mainly middle-aged men and women drawn from the UK, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.” These participants were divided into groups according to their work patterns, with 35-40 hours worked a week considered the control group. At the beginning of the study, none of the participants had AF.
“After 10 years of follow-up, an average of 12.4 per 1,000 people had developed AF, but among those working 55 hours or more, this figure was higher at 17.6 per 1,000 people,” James Rudd wrote.
However, like most studies, the researchers did acknowledge some limitations. For example, information regarding work hours was only gathered at the beginning of the study, so there’s no telling how the work patterns of these individuals changed throughout the course of the study.