Heart Attack Risk Doubled If You Work a 60-Hour Week

Article excerpt

Byline: JENNY HOPE

WORKING 60 hours a week can double the risk of a heart attack, say researchers.

A study shows excessive time at work and too little sleep can damage your health, adding to growing medical evidence of problems linked to long working hours - particularly in shifts and at night.

Britain has Europe's longest working hours, says Professor Cary Cooper, of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, an expert on workrelated stress.

As a result, employees are at high risk of stress, ill-health, sickness absence and family problems.

'Other European countries look with envy at Britain's productivity and business success rate, but it cannot be sustained because it's built on very stressful working conditions,' he said.

The latest study, of more than 700 men, found those who worked more than 60 hours and got an average night's sleep of five or fewer hours had twice the risk of a heart attack.

Frequent lack of sleep and fewer days off in the preceding month also raised up to threefold the chances of having a heart attack.

The researchers, at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, studied 260 men aged 40 to 79 between 1996 and 1998 who had been admitted to hospital for a first-time heart attack, which they survived. A similar group of 445 men with no history of heart attack were also investigated.

Details of potential risk factors for heart attack were obtained, including lifestyle, weight and conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

The researchers, whose findings are published today in the medical journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, said longer working hours are associated with fewer days off, shorter sleep and more days a week of five hours sleep or fewer. …