Working long hours raises risk of stroke by 33%

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New research on working long hours shows working 55 hours or more per week is linked to a 33% greater risk of stroke compared with working a 35- to 40-hour week.

The study published in The Lancet concluded that working a 48-hour week can increase someone’s risk of stroke by 10%, working up to 54 hours by 27% and more than 55 hours by 33%.

The study, led by researchers from University College London, concluded: “Employees who work long hours have a higher risk of stroke than those working standard hours; the association with coronary heart disease is weaker. These findings suggest that more attention should be paid to the management of vascular risk factors in individuals who work long hours.”

Dr Shamim Quadir, research communications manager at the Stroke Association, added: “It is difficult to establish what may cause this link between working long hours and stroke risk. Nevertheless, the findings of the study underline how important it is to look after your health to help prevent a stroke.

“This includes taking regular exercise and eating a healthy, balanced diet. Working long hours can involve sitting for long periods of time, experiencing stress and leads to less time available to look after yourself. There is also some evidence suggesting that people who work long hours tend to drink more heavily – which is a known risk factor for stroke.”

The study looked separately at the incidence of heart disease and at stroke, and concluded that long hours increased the risk of both, although the risk was greater for stroke.

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