Importantly, the longer people worked each week, the greater the risk they run, with those working between 41 and 48 hours having a 10 higher risk of stroke and those working 49 to 54 hours having a 27 per cent increased risk.
Limitations of the study include a lack of data on variables such as the workload, sleeping hours, “the degree to which an employee is engaged in and enthusiastic about doing his or her work”, and the fact not everyone works a set number of hours over their career.
Those who worked more than 55 hours a week had a 13 per cent increased risk of heart disease, they found.
And the researchers found that the longer people worked, the higher their chances of a stroke.
Professor of epidemiology at University College London (UCL) Mika Kivimäki and colleagues carried out the meta-analysis and systematic review of published studies and unpublished individual data examining the effects of longer working hours on cardiovascular disease up to August 20th, 2014.
Workaholics beware – putting in the extra hours increases the risk of a stroke.
The authors wrote: ‘Sudden death from overwork is often caused by stroke and is believed to result from a repetitive triggering of the stress response.
“Many individuals may not be able to decrease their work hours”, he said, so “we need to start to change society’s mindset and educate the public that physical activity must be a part of the equation for successful aging and disease prevention”.
Doctors must pay attention to risk factors over cardiovascular disease when advising patients who work long hours, warned Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation.
“With data from over 600,000 men and women, our study is 40 times larger”.
Millions of workers who put in lots of overtime may be upping their odds for a stroke, a new study contends.
Scientists found that working 55 hours or more a week can increase the chances of suffering a stroke by a third compared to the risk for people who work the regular 40 hours or less.
The researchers identified 528,908 people who were stroke-free when they joined a study.
Working long hours might impress the boss or even win promotion – but clock-watchers are likely to have the last laugh, a study shows, as t hey are at less risk of a potentially fatal stroke or heart attack. Among member countries of the OECD, Turkey has the highest proportion of individuals working more than 50 hours per week (43%), and the Netherlands the lowest (less than 1%).
“Although some countries have legislation for working hours – eg, the EU Working Time Directive gives people the right to limit their average working time to 48 hours per week – it is not always implemented”.
The researchers also looked at 603,838 workers with no history of coronary heart disease and tracked them for an average of 8.5 years.
‘Most of us could reduce the amount of time we spend sitting down, increase our physical activity and improve our diet while working and this might be more important the more time we spend at work. “We should all consider how the working environment could be altered to promote healthy behaviour that will reduce strokes, irrespective of how long we work”.