Shift work may put women at risk for heart disease: study

October 26, 2011

Vancouver, British Columbia – Female shift workers may be at greater risk for heart disease, finds research from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Researchers examined 227 female hospital workers ages 22 to 66 for metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of factors – including abdominal obesity and high blood pressure – that increase the risk of heart disease.

Overall, 17 percent of participants had metabolic syndrome with at least three risk factors, according to a press release from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Researchers found a connection between age, length of employment and risk. Almost 75 percent of women working shifts for more than 15 years had metabolic syndrome, compared with 8 percent of women with less than six years of shift work. The condition may be linked to the disruption of biological rhythms and rest patterns associated with shift work, researchers suggested.

The study was presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2011.