Sometimes it’s best to say no to overtime: A new Canadian study finds that working too hard after a heart attack could boost your odds for a repeat. Their new study found that people who work more than 55 hours a week after a heart attack are twice as likely to have another, compared with those who work 35 to 40 hours a week. This information is even more vital for Blacks, who have a higher risk of developing heart disease than any other race.
“The magnitude of the effect of working long hours after a heart attack is comparable to the burden of current smoking,” senior researcher Dr. Alain Milot, a professor of medicine at Laval University in Quebec City, Canada says.
“Interventions to reduce long working hours should be part of public health and enterprise efforts to adapt the working environment of coronary patients,” he adds.
An estimated 20 percent of workers worldwide put in more than 48 hours a week, according to the International Labour Office.
For the study, Milot’s team collected data on nearly 1,000 men and women who in the mid-1990s were under 60 years of age, had a history of heart attack and were working.
The participants were interviewed and filled out questionnaires over six years to study cases of heart disease, lifestyle risk factors and hospital readmission rates. The questionnaires also asked about on-the-job exposure to smoking; chemicals; pollution; noise; excessive heat, cold or physical exertion; and the number of hours worked each week.
The researchers also measured participants’ levels of stress, job strain, and social support during and outside work.
Over six years, 22 percent of the study participants had a second heart attack. Working long hours doubled their risk of