Researchers analyzed data from more than 1,900 people in a long-term study of work. They found that 43 percent had been diagnosed with a problem related to cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as angina, coronary artery disease, heart failure, heart attack, high blood pressure or stroke.
Among full-time employees, the risk rose 1 percent for each additional hour worked per week over 10 years or more.
Starting at 46 hours, additional work hours increased the risk of heart disease even more. Compared to those who averaged 45 hours a week for 10 years or more, the risk of heart disease was 16 percent higher among those who worked 55 hours a week and 35 percent higher among those who worked 60 hours a week.
The findings did not apply to part-time workers, according to the study in the March issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
The researchers also did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between long hours at work and increased heart disease risk.
"This study provides specific evidence on long work hours and an increase [in] the risk of CVD, thereby providing a foundation for CVD prevention efforts focused on work schedule practices, which may reduce the risk of CVD for millions of working Americans," study author Sadie Conway, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, said in a journal news release.More information
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers heart disease prevention tips.
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