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Study links shift work to vascular problems

August 1, 2012

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London, Ontario – Shift work increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, according to new research from Western University in London, Ontario.

Researchers analyzed 34 studies involving more than 2 million people. Of those people, more than 17,359 had experienced some type of coronary event – 6,598 had a heart attack and 1,854 had a stroke. Compared to daytime work, shift work was associated with a 23 percent higher risk of heart attack and 5 percent higher risk of stroke, stated a press release from British Medical Journal, which published the study.

Among shifts, night shift workers had the highest risk of a coronary event at 41 percent. Despite the vascular risks, shift work was not linked to higher death rates from any cause, the release said.

Researchers suggested screening programs to identify risk factors and education for workers on the symptoms of heart problems.

The study was published online July 26.

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