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Your Healthy Family: Working long hours may lead to increased stroke risk

Posted at 12:11 PM, Aug 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 14:11:52-04

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A long day’s work can be mentally and physically exhausting.

But, according to one recent study, long days at the office may actually be putting our health at risk.

The study looked at data on 143,592 people.

Researchers found those who reported working more than ten hours per day, for at least 50 days out of the year, were more likely to have suffered a stroke.

The link between work hours and stroke was even greater for those who worked long days for ten or more years.

Pravin George, D.O., of Cleveland Clinic did not take part in the study, but said it’s becoming more common for people to work jobs that require long or irregular hours, but that doesn’t mean we should put our health on the back burner for the sake of our jobs.

He said people who work longer hours often have a less than ideal diet, increased stress and increased blood pressure – which are all known risk factors for stroke.

And when we’re exhausted and starving, we’re less likely to make healthy choices when it comes to our meals – and more likely to grab what’s quick, which is often fast food.

Also, when we work long hours, it doesn’t leave us much time for other things, like physical activity.

“Regardless of genetics, regardless of your job, trying to get some of these vary basic healthy living habits is going to be your most important factor in trying to prevent stroke,” said Dr. George.

Dr. George said this research shows us the importance of maintaining a good work-life balance.

He recommends taking part in a company wellness program, if one is offered, which often provides incentives for keeping up healthy habits.

“Make sure that your stress level is well-controlled,” he said. “You can try something like yoga, or breathing exercises, or something to get away from work - because if you don’t, it can have poor effects on your health.”

Complete results of the study can be found in the journal Stroke.