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Female shift workers may be at higher risk of heart disease
Date:10/22/2011

Vancouver Women hospital staff working night shifts may be compromising their own health as they try to improve the health of patients, Dr. Joan Tranmer told the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2011, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

Dr. Tranmer's study investigated the connection between shift work and risk factors for heart disease in female hospital employees who worked both shift and non-shift rotations.

As a former nurse familiar with shift work and because of her concern about the health of the female hospital work force, Dr. Tranmer questioned whether late nights were taking their toll on the health of her fellow hospital employees. "As I walked through the hospital and talked with my colleagues, I was concerned about what I was seeing in a lot of the workers," she said. "We did not know if this is related to shift work or other aspects of hospital work".

Her study reinforced what she observed about the health of female hospital employees. Dr. Tranmer studied 227 women ranging in age between 22 and 66 (with a mean age of 46) from two hospitals in southeastern Ontario. The study included not only nurses but a variety of staff, including administrative employees as well as lab and equipment technicians, who worked a variety of rotations.

She examined each of the women's possible risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. The syndrome's five indicators are abdominal obesity (elevated waist circumference), high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, elevated triglycerides, and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also known as 'good cholesterol.' The women also completed a detailed survey about their work history and lifestyle.

The findings of this study suggest that approximately one in five middle-aged women who do shift work have at least three risk indicators for heart disease.

From the group, 17 per cent had metabolic syndrome
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Contact: Amanda Bates
amanda@curvecommunications.com
604-306-0027
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Source:Eurekalert

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