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Long work hours may up your risk of high blood pressure: study

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Quebec City, Quebec — Working more than 40 hours a week can increase your risk of both typical high blood pressure and masked hypertension – defined as a blood pressure reading that’s normal during a doctor’s office visit but high at home or elsewhere, results of a recent study by researchers in Canada show.

The study involved more than 3,500 white-collar workers, who wore monitors that recorded their resting blood pressure in the morning and during the rest of the workday. Samples were taken at three different times during the five-year study period.

The results: Participants who said they worked 49 or more hours a week had a 66% increased risk of sustained hypertension and a 70% greater risk of masked hypertension compared with workers who logged 40 hours a week or less. Those percentages were 51 and 33, respectively, for workers who logged 41 to 48 hours a week.

The link between working long hours and hypertension was the same for men and women, according to a Dec. 19 press release from the American Heart Association.

In 2018, AHA estimated that more than 103 million U.S. adults had high blood pressure, adding that, in 2015, the condition led to more than 79,000 deaths in the United States.

“If [people are] working long hours, they should ask their doctors about checking their blood pressure over time with a wearable monitor,” lead study author Xavier Trudel, an assistant professor in social and preventive medicine at Laval University, said in the release. “Masked hypertension can affect someone for a long period of time and is associated, in the long term, with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.”

The study was published online Dec. 19 in the AHA journal Hypertension.

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