Your Work Hours Might Affect Your Heart

Working long hours tied to raised risk of developing atrial fibrillation

(RxWiki News) Staying late at the office might affect your heart health, according to a new study.

In this study of more than 85,000 European workers, it appeared those who worked longer hours were more likely to develop atrial fibrillation (AFib).

AFib is a type of irregular heart rhythm. Left untreated, it can raise the risk of stroke.

People who worked more than 55 hours each week were more likely than those who worked 35 to 40 hours per week to develop AFib during a 10-year follow-up period.

"Those who worked long hours had a 1.4 times higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation, even after we had adjusted for factors that could affect the risk, such as age, sex, socioeconomic status, obesity, leisure time physical activity, smoking and risky alcohol use," said lead study author Dr. Mika Kivimaki, of University College London, in a press release. "Nine out of ten of the atrial fibrillation cases occurred in people who were free of pre-existing or concurrent cardiovascular disease."

These researchers noted for younger people who maintain a healthy lifestyle and had few, if any, risk factors, the risk of Afib associated with long working hours, is small. 

This study only assessed work hours at the beginning of the research period. The study authors called for more research on the subject.

If you're concerned about your AFib risk, talk to your health care provider.

This study was published in the European Heart Journal.

NordForsk, the EU New OSH ERA Research Programme, the Finnish Work Environment Fund, and the Swedish Research Council for Working Life and Social Research funded this research. Information on potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

Review Date: 
July 25, 2017