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Heart disease linked to overtime


Working for an extra three or four hours a day on a regular basis increases the risk of heart disease and death by up to 60 per cent, a study has warned.

The study, published online in the European Heart Journal, found that overtime is bad for health, as it causes more stress.

Researchers studied a group of more than 6,000 British civil servants aged between 39 and 61, over an average period of 11 years.

They found that working 10 or 11 hour days, in comparison with the average seven hour day, increased the risk of heart problems such as heart attack or angina, by up to 60 per cent. This remained true even when factors such as age, weight and habits such as smoking were taken into account.

Marianna Virtanen, an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki and University College London, led the study.

Cathy Ross, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the research, said: “This study raises further questions about how our working lives can influence our risk of heart disease.

“Until researchers understand how our working lives can affect the risk to our heart health, there are simple ways to look after your heart health at work, like taking a brisk walk at lunch, taking the stairs instead of the lift, or by swapping that biscuit for a piece of fruit.”


Readers' comments (4)

  • Erm, what about 12 + hour shifts then? and no offence to the senior cardiac nurse but when would a ward nurse ever get the time or chance to take a brisk walk at lunch - well not on my ward - and 50 % of the time we don't even get lunch......and thus what is more patient friendly? a nurse eating a chocolate or one with orange juice trickling down her arm.....

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  • Cathy Ross works for the BHF and obviously hasn't got a clue about working on hospital wards.

    "Taking a brisk walk at lunch"! Lol.

    Erm if i'm lucky enough to get a full 30mins i need to eat love...not walk (as i've been doing that all flipping morning on the ward!).

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  • laura collins

    Everything that is overdone or overwork do have great effects. Overwork, overtime does affect our health and we must be very careful and must have a great concern in terms of our health. It is not good that we are sick while taking good care of our patients. :-)

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  • I believe the study targeted civil servants that work M-F and work overtime regularly, not nurses who work longer shifts but don't work more than full time hours. Unless you are a nurse who works more than full time hours, and works a lot of overtime, the study does not apply.

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