Working Long Hours? You Could Be Putting Your Heart At Risk

Better ease up

14 July 2017

Article heading image for Working Long Hours? You Could Be Putting Your Heart At Risk

Image: Pexels

If you’re a sucker for working long hours there's a good chance you're putting your heart at risk, according to new research.

British scientists compared the standard working week of 35 to 40 hours with a heavier workload of 55 hours or more per week, and discovered an irregular heartbeat among symptoms that could develop from the extra slog, AAP reports.

Across a 10 year period, workers putting in the longer hours were 40% more likely so suffer from atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition causing blood clots and increasing the chance of stroke.

Published in the European Heart Journal, a sample pool of 85,000 participants from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the UK detected 5.2 cases of the condition per every 1000 participants.

"These findings show that long working hours are associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia," said lead researcher Professor Mika Kivimaki, of University College London.

"This could be one of the mechanisms that explain the previously observed increased risk of stroke among those working long hours.

"Atrial fibrillation is known to contribute to the development of stroke but also other adverse health outcomes, such as heart failure and stroke-related dementia."

Medical director of the British Heart Foundation, Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, added: "Although we know some of the causes of atrial fibrillation, such as age, high blood pressure, heart valve disease and excess alcohol consumption, many patients develop the condition without an obvious cause.

"The suggestion that longer working hours may be a cause of atrial fibrillation is very interesting.

"More research is needed to understand and prove what's behind this association."

Listen Live!