Longer Working Hours Linked to Greater Stroke Risk

Longer Working Hours Linked to Greater Stroke RiskLonger Working Hours Linked to Greater Stroke Risk

Workaholics may be jeopardizing their health after a new study reveals working 55 hours or more per week may lead to 33% greater risk of stroke.

The research also reveals that those who work long hours may also be at higher risk of developing coronary heart disease.

The study, published in The Lancet, is the largest of its kind to investigate the link between working hours and cardiovascular health.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronary heart disease and stroke are currently ranked first and fifth, respectively, in the top 10 causes of death in America.

This is not the first time the effects of longer working hours have been examined. Last year, a study reported how individuals working between 61-70 hours a week had a 42% higher risk of developing coronary heart disease, compared with those working 40 hours or less, reports

A survey conducted last year showed the average weekly working hours in the US exceeded the traditional 40 hours that are normally quoted by the government. Instead, full-time employees reported an average of 47 hours of work per week, which is almost an extra day in a standard Monday-Friday, 9-5 schedule.

To investigate, researchers from University College London (UCL) in the UK first conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies from Europe, Australia and the US.

Data from 25 studies was analyzed, involving more than 600,000 men and women from the three countries who were followed up for an average of 8.5 years. Researchers found individuals working 55 hours or more were at 13% higher risk for developing coronary heart disease.

This figure remained the same even after researchers took other risk factors into consideration, such as age, sex and socioeconomic status.

The risk of stroke was also found to be much higher for overworked individuals. The researchers analyzed data from 17 studies involving 500,000 men and women who were followed up for an average of 7.2 years. Results revealed the risk of stroke was 1.3 times, or 33%, higher for individuals who worked 55 hours or more per week.

Interestingly, researchers discovered the risk of stroke rose in conjunction with the amount of hours worked. Individuals working between 41-48 hours a week had a 10% higher rate of stroke, while for those working between 49-54 hours a week, the increased risk of stroke was almost three times higher at 27%.