Working Long Hours Increases Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

A recent study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine determined that working more increases your chances of developing heart disease. Researchers tracked 1,926 men and women from 1986 to 2011. Each year, participants recorded how many hours they worked per week and if they had developed angina, a congenital heart defect, congestive heart failure, a heart attack, high blood pressure/hypertension, or a stroke. Retrospective statistical analysis was then performed.

After adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and pay status, the study found that each additional hour worked per week over the span of at least 10 years increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by 1% for full-time workers. When compared to working 45 hours a week, working 55 hours increased the risk of heart disease by 16 percent, 60 hours increased the risk by 35%, 65 hours increased it by 52%, and 70 hours increased the risk by 74%. These findings suggest a dose-response relationship between hours worked and risk of cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular diseases are the most pervasive public health problem across the world. From the American Heart Association:

Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year, a number that is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030. In 2008, cardiovascular deaths represented 30 percent of all global deaths, with 80 percent of those deaths taking place in low- and middle-income countries. Nearly 787,000 people in the U.S. died from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases in 2011. That’s about one of every three deaths in America. About 2,150 Americans die each day from these diseases, one every 40 seconds. Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined. About 85.6 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke. Direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular diseases and stroke total more than $320.1 billion. That includes health expenditures and lost productivity. Nearly half of all African-American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease, 48 percent of women and 46 percent of men. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the world and the leading cause of death in the United States, killing over 375,000 Americans a year. Heart disease accounts for 1 in 7 deaths in the U.S. Someone in the U.S. dies from heart disease about once every 90 seconds.

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Jake Steele is a sophomore at Georgetown University studying finance and management. During his time at Consumers’ Research, he has examined developing trends in finance and technology.

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