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Long workdays may increase stroke risk: study

Photo: PointImages/iStockphoto

Dallas — Working long shifts can dramatically increase the risk of stroke, especially when those long schedules stretch over a decade or more, results of a recent study led by French researchers show.

The researchers reviewed data from a French population-based cohort of nearly 144,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 69 that started in 2012. Of this group, 29.6% reported working long hours – defined as 10 hours or more a day for at least 50 days a year – while 10.1% said they did the same for 10 years or more. Overall, 1,224 (0.9%) had suffered a stroke.

Participants who worked long hours had a 29% greater risk of stroke, and that percentage jumped to 45 for those who did so for a decade or more. The association showed no differences between men and women but was stronger in white-collar workers younger than 50.

Previous research has shown that irregular shifts, night shifts and job strain are among the most common contributors to unhealthy work conditions, noted Alexis Descatha, a physician and researcher at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research.


Descatha said the results provide a warning he can share with his patients.

“As a clinician, I will advise them to work more efficiently and plan to follow my own advice,” Descatha said in a June 20 press release from the American Heart Association.

The study was published online July 1 in the journal Stroke.

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