The pressures of our modern and hectic lifestyles have many of us burning the midnight oil in the office — working late and irregular hours, checking work emails over weekends and being on-call at all hours of the day.
Now, the results of a long-term study show that those long working hours may have a significant impact on your heart health.
For the study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers examined over 1,900 participants, all in full-time employment, for 10 years. The results showed that, during the study period, 43 per cent of the participants had some form of cardiovascular disease-related incident — including heart attack, heart failure, angina, coronary artery disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
The risk rose 1 per cent for each additional hour worked per week over 10 years or more. Starting at 46 hours, additional work hours increased the risk of heart disease even more. Compared to those who worked an average of 45 hours a week for 10 years or more, the risk of heart disease was 16 per cent higher among those who worked 55 hours a week and 35 per cent higher among those who worked 60 hours a week.
These findings don’t prove a cause-and-effect association between working long hours and increased risk of developing heart disease. However, commenting on the results, lead researcher Sadie Conway said: “This study provides specific evidence on long work hours and an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Considering the fact that previous research findings have dubbed sitting to be the “new smoking”, it makes sense that long hours behind a desk, possibly combined with unhealthy snacking and irregular eating habits, can negatively affect your heart health.
Apart from cutting down on work hours by maintaining a healthy average of 45 work hours weekly, here are some tips on how to keep your heart healthy:
Stop smoking: Nip this nasty habit in the bud, once and for all. End of.
Low carb, high fat: Ditch carbohydrate-rich foods like bread and pasta, and trans-fatty junk foods like pizza, fries and hamburgers. Switch and stick to a healthy diet consisting of fresh vegetables, fruits and healthy animal proteins like salmon and red meat in moderation — following a Mediterranean or Paleo Diet should be a good guide to help you accomplish your diet goals.
Drop the extra pounds: Being obese or overweight increases the risk of developing heart disease. And you can start to trim down by fixing your eating habits as well as exercising regularly — both of which have proven heart benefits.
Here's to keeping your heart strong and healthy
for The Cholesterol Truth
Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, news release, March 3, 2016
Category: Cardiovascular Risks