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Working Longer Hours Increases Risk of Stroke, Study Finds

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A new study shows that all work and no play won’t just make you a dull boy or girl but could, in fact, kill you.

The study, which was led by Miki Kivimaki, an epidemiologist at University College London, involved a methodical examination of 25 other studies involving more than half a million Europeans, Americans, and Australians followed for an average of eight years.

The finding: the longer people worked, the higher their chance of having a stroke. Specifically, when compared to people working standard hours (roughly 40 per week), those working 41 to 48 hours increased their risk of stroke by 10 percent, while those working 49 to 54 hours increased their risk by 27 percent. Finally, those working an excessive amount–55 hours a week or more–were 33 percent more likely to have a stroke than people working 40 hours per week.

Medical experts believe the risk is related to additional stress. They believe doctors need to ask questions about a patient’s work status in order to determine a more accurate picture of their health and potential heart problems.

“This research shows an association between long working hours and an increased risk of having a stroke and heart disease,” noted Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation.

“It is plausible that there could be a causal relationship behind the link as sudden death following long working hours is often caused by stroke, due to long and repeated periods of stress, although that was not demonstrated in this study.

“This study highlights to doctors that they need to pay particular attention to cardiovascular risk factors when they advise people who work long hours.”

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