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Overtime Boosts Heart Attack Risk
Date:5/11/2010

speculates that the people who choose to work overtime may be those with so-called type A personalities.

This makes them more aggressive, competitive, tense, time-conscious and generally hostile. They may also have signs of depression and anxiety, and may not get enough sleep, or not enough time to relax before going to sleep.

It is also possible that people who have more freedom over work-related decisions may have a lower risk of heart disease even if they work overtime, the researchers added.

Yet another possibility is that the chronic stress, associated with working long hours, has an adverse effect on health.

Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that "emerging data suggest that consistently working overtime may be associated with adverse health status including hypertension, sleep deprivation, lack of exercise and depression."

There have also been studies suggesting a higher risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke with excess overtime work, he said.

"There are a number of potential mechanisms by which excess overtime work could adversely impact cardiovascular event risk including increased stress, excess sympathetic nervous system activity, increased exposure to secondhand smoke, unhealthy dietary habits, less time to exercise, and individuals with excess overtime work being less included to seek timely and appropriate medical care," Fonarow said.

Further studies should examine whether these findings apply to other populations and whether reductions in overtime work or other interventions reduce cardiovascular risk, he added.

More information

For more information on risks for heart disease, visit the American Heart Association.



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