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Long Work Hours Linked to Increased Risk of Stroke

Association with coronary heart disease is smaller; dose-response association seen for stroke

THURSDAY, Aug. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Working long hours is associated with increased risk of stroke, and with a smaller increased risk of coronary heart disease, according to research published online Aug. 19 in the The Lancet.

Mika Kivimäki, Ph.D., from University College London, and colleagues examined long working hours as a risk factor for incident coronary heart disease and stroke. Twenty-five studies were included from 24 cohorts in Europe, the United States, and Australia. The meta-analyses for coronary heart disease and stroke included data for 603,838 and 528,908 adults, respectively.

The researchers found that, compared with standard hours (35 to 40 per week), working long hours (≥55 per week) correlated with increased risk of incident coronary heart disease and stroke (relative risks, 1.13 [P = 0.02] and 1.33 [P = 0.002], respectively), after adjustment for age, sex, and socioeconomic status. In analyses addressing reverse causation and multivariate adjustment, the excess risk of stroke persisted. A dose-response association was recorded for stroke, with relative risk estimates of 1.10, 1.27, and 1.33 for working 41 to 48, 49 to 54, and 55 or more hours per week, versus standard working hours (Ptrend < 0.0001).

“These findings suggest that more attention should be paid to the management of vascular risk factors in individuals who work long hours,” the authors write.

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