Employees who work more than 11 hours a day (as opposed to the standard eight) significantly increase their risk of heart disease, according to the UK’s Annals of Internal Medicine. Recent reports show that risk goes up by 67% for those who put in long hours at work.
The University College London team based findings on more than 7,000 civil service employees whose health has been monitored since 1985. They suggest that doctors should now be asking patients about working hours.
Lead researcher of the story, Professor Mika Kivimäki said: “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 study might make us think twice about the old adage ‘hard work won’t kill you.’”
Professor Stephen Holgate of the Medical Research Council added that the study “could also be a wake-up call for people who overwork themselves, especially if they already have other risk factors.”
Over the course of the 11-year study, 192 of participants had a heart attack. Those who out in 11 hours of work or more per day were more than 50% as likely to have a heart attack than those who worked shorter hours.
And factoring working hours into well-established heart risk factors (like high blood pressure), made the predictions far more accurate. Studies are now needed to see if encouraging employers to cut back on working hours (or getting employers to soften their demands) will improve heart health.
“Tackling lifestyles that are detrimental to health is a key area for the MRC, and this research reminds us that it’s not just diet and exercise we need to think about,” said Professor Holgate.
Experts suspect a number of underlying factors may be at play, such as undetected high blood pressure, stress, anxiety or depression, and being a driven, aggressive or irritable personality.
The study also raises related issues traditionally managed by employment attorneys, such as unpaid overtime hours, wage and hour violations, wrongful termination and workplace discrimination. An experienced Employment Attorney at Emery Reddy can help with any of these issues. In addition, workers who have submitted an L&I Claim with the Department of Labor and Industries, and need help with their workers compensation case, should consult an L&I Lawyer at Emery Reddy.