These days, every penny counts. For this reason, many people work long and stressful hours every single day. While these extra hours do boost the paycheck and make you feel more financially secure, recent medical news has shown that those hours may greatly increase your risk of developing heart disease.
Risk Factors and Research
When you go to a doctor for the first time, he has you fill out sheet that asks you all sorts of questions. The answers that you put down help the doctor evaluate you, so that he knows what types of medical problems you are at risk for. When he is looking to see if you are at risk for heart disease, he may want to know if you smoke, what your weight is, and whether you have diabetes or are closely related to someone who does. He will check your vitals to see if your blood pressure is stable and will also check your cholesterol level.
According to medical news, during this type of evaluation, many researchers also believe that doctors should ask how many hours you work each day. In some studies that have been performed in England, it was shown that if doctors had this type of information available to them, they were able to more easily predict which patient was going to suffer from heart disease. These ten year research studies were able to show that longer work hours increase the risk of heart disease, especially when accompanied by other risk factors.
While it does not seem like a lot of time, the research study showed that people could work up to ten hours every day without significantly increasing their risk of heart disease. Once the workers went over 11 hours of work, though, the risk of developing this type of disease in the future increased dramatically.
Framingham's risk score
To further test the study and to make sure that all of the risks factors for each person were taken into consideration, Framingham's risk score was used. With this type of evaluation, the people in the study are separated into three categories: low, moderate, and high risk. Each type of risk factor was taken into consideration, including weight, blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and cholesterol levels. If the participant did not have many risk factors, he was put into the low category, but if he was a great risk, he was placed in the high category. Those in the moderate category were somewhat a risk for heart disease.
After a few years, some of the participants were moved to different categories. At times, those that were moved from the low category to the moderate category were moved simply because the number of hours that they had to work increased, making them more at risk for disease.
The reason for the increased risk
Doctors and researchers are not entirely sure the exact reason that an 11 hour day has such a big effect. According to some medical news, though, the negative effects of working such long hours may cause the increased risk of heart disease. When a person works for those many hours, he may not get enough sleep, may not exercise as much, may eat the wrong types of foods, and may become depressed. All of these factors can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and can possibly be caused by working longer hours.