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Jul 11, 2019

Long Workdays Linked to Increased Risk for Stroke

French study links 10-hour workdays to stronger likelihood of stroke among men and women alike.

Working more than ten hours a day may significantly increase risk of stroke, based on a recent study of more than 143,000 French adults in a national registry. Findings were published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, and add to a growing body of evidence linking long working hours to poor heart health.

First started in 2012, the CONSTANCES study (Cohorte des Consultants des Centres d'Examens de Santé) is a population-based registry of adults in France. It included 143,592 participants, all of who completed questionnaires and exams to assess their diet, lifestyle and health. Through surveys, participants reported their work history and hours, as well as history of stroke. Researchers then analyzed outcomes to see if long workhours impact risk for stroke—a leading cause of death and disability worldwide.

All participants included in the analysis were between 18 and 69 years old and had worked at least six months in their life.

Based on survey data, 30% of participants reported long working hours, which was defined as working more than ten hours a day for at least 50 days a year. Analysis showed that these individuals were 29% more likely to have a history of stroke than those who had shorter working days.

Additionally, surveys showed that 1 in 10 participants reported working long hours for at least ten years. These individuals faced 45% greater risk of stroke when compared to individuals with shorter working hours.

Authors note that there was no difference in outcomes between men and women. However, the link between long working hours and stroke risk was strongest in white-collar workers under 50 years of age.

According to authors, findings help confirm the association between long working hours and increased risk of stroke. They also highlight an opportunity for prevention, as limiting work hours could promote better heart health. With additional research experts hope to better understand the underlying causes of the association, such as sleep, stress or working conditions, and to find ways to address these causes to improve heart health.

Questions for You to Consider

  • What is stroke?

  • Stroke occurs when there is an interruption of the blood supply to the brain. The two types of stroke include ischemic stroke, where the blood supply to the brain is blocked by a blood clot, and hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when blood vessels rupture and leak blood into the brain. Symptoms of both types of stroke include sudden numbness in the face, arm or leg, confusion, trouble speaking or understanding, trouble with vision, loss of balance or coordination, and severe headache with no known cause. It is crucial that you call 911 immediately upon experiencing any of these symptoms.
  • How can I help prevent stroke?

  • There are many things adults can do to help prevent a stroke. First, maintain a healthy blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, visit your physician to properly treat this condition. Maintaining a healthy diet, weight, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake, and quitting smoking (if you are a smoker) can also help significantly lower risk for stroke.

Infographic: Stroke

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Featured Video

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts. Watch this video to learn about what symptoms to watch for.