The Relationship Between Working Hours And Stroke

Do you love your job? I know I do. And yes I’m aware that some of my clients in my day job might be reading this. A shout out to you lovely folks! *ahem ahem* gimme some brownie points, or brownies, or a positive review! I also enjoy my main hobby, which is writing these blog posts and helping people lose weight and adopt body positivity with my Granite Fitness programmes.

If you enjoy your work, it certainly doesn’t really feel like work, does it? If your job gives you an innate sense of self-satisfaction, you wouldn’t mind voluntarily working for a few extra hours without pay, would you? It’s like the saying that goes something along the lines of “If you love what you do, you wouldn’t have to work another day in your life”. What a dream, isn’t it?

Whether or not your attitude to your job is similar to mine, one fairly recent study has been published, and its key message is that we should not work for too many hours as it can increase the risk of stroke. Although we might not be surprised by it, we also might not have expected someone to do an actual study on it. Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself here.

kaboompics / Pixabay

Oh my bad, it wasn’t just one study. It was a review of 17 studies. It was not a minor review either. Cumulatively, these studies covered 528,908 men and women followed for an average of 7.2 years. Not only that, but they also adjusted for potential confounding factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and level of physical activity. In simpler terms, it means that those three factors were not the reason for this association.

The way the research was analysed and reported was to split everyone into groups based on their weekly working hours and then compared the groups. They found that people who worked between 41 and 48 hours per week had a 10 percent higher risk of stroke compared to those who worked a standard working week.

Those who worked in the next bracket up, defined as between 49 and 54 hours a week had a 27 percent higher risk of stroke compared to those who worked a standard working week. As for those who worked 55 hours a week or more, the risk of suffering a stroke increased by 33 percent! A longer working week also increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease by 13 percent, even after taking into account risk factors including age, sex, and socioeconomic status.

Pretty confronting, isn’t it? So what could be causing this? We know that stroke and heart disease are caused by a mix of genetic and environmental factors, the latter of which includes physical inactivity, high alcohol consumption, and repetitive stress. Now it begins to make sense. This study was also conducted in over 600, 000 participants in the western world over the course of 8.5 years on average.

Anyways, this does not bode well for workaholics amongst us, including myself, whose workaholism might stem from the genetics of being of Singaporean heritage. Okay, maybe that bit was just made-up on the spot. So remember that no matter whether you love your job or loathe it, always remember that we are working to live, and not living to work. Ensure that you have balance in areas such as mental and physical health, so that you might live long and hopefully prosper!


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