Overtime Can Kill You

The American work ethic, that which lauds the workaholic, can kill you.

People who put in long hours at work increase their risk of dying from heart disease and heart attack, Finnish researchers report.

In fact, people who work three or more hours of overtime a day have a 60 percent increased risk of heart-related problems such as dying from heart disease, having a heart attack or angina, the researchers noted.

It gets better.

It is also possible that people who have more freedom over work-related decisions may have a lower risk of heart disease even if they work overtime, the researchers added.

Yet another possibility is that the chronic stress, associated with working long hours, has an adverse effect on health.

Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that “emerging data suggest that consistently working overtime may be associated with adverse health status including hypertension, sleep deprivation, lack of exercise and depression.”

There have also been studies suggesting a higher risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke with excess overtime work, he said.

“There are a number of potential mechanisms by which excess overtime work could adversely impact cardiovascular event risk including increased stress, excess sympathetic nervous system activity, increased exposure to secondhand smoke, unhealthy dietary habits, less time to exercise, and individuals with excess overtime work being less included to seek timely and appropriate medical care,” Fonarow said. [Source]

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