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More Evidence That Shift Work Might Raise Heart Risks
Date:7/27/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- People working evening shifts, irregular shifts, night shifts and rotating shifts are at an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, a large, new review finds.

The best way to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke associated with shift work is to keep the usual risk factors -- such as blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and diabetes -- under control, experts say.

"Given the commonness of shift work in modern industrialized nations, and industrializing nations, many heart attacks and strokes are likely directly attributable to the effects of shift work," said lead researcher Dr. Daniel Hackam, a clinical pharmacologist at the Stroke Prevention and Atherosclerosis Research Centre in London, Ontario, Canada.

Employers and employees must be aware of this problem, as should doctors and others who see shift workers, he said.

"Shift workers should receive cardiovascular risk factor screening and prevention, and this should be ongoing and regular," Hackam added.

Particular attention should be paid to risk factors that may be worsened by shift work, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, he noted.

"Since we are now in a 24/7 society, this problem is not likely to go away any time soon," Hackam pointed out.

The report was published online July 26 in the BMJ.

To look at the connection between heart attack, stroke and shift work, Hackam's group analyzed 34 studies that included more than 2 million people.

This process of pooling results from different studies is called a meta-analysis, and is used by researchers to uncover patterns that are consistent across a large population.

Among the people in these studies, more than 17,000 had some kind of cardiovascular problem. More than 6,500 had heart attacks and almost 1,900 had strokes, the research showed.

Hackam's team fou
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