Working Long Hours Increases Risk of Atrial Fibrillation
September 28, 2017
A recently published study in the European Heart Journal found that working long hours increases a person’s chances for developing atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a condition where a person experiences irregular heartbeats, which can lead to other serious cardiovascular problems.
The most common risk factors for developing atrial fibrillation are being over 60-years-old and having a history of open-heart surgery, diabetes, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure or prior heart attacks. People who have atrial fibrillation commonly experience fatigue, dizziness, confusion, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, weakness, reduced ability to exercise and palpitations which give the sensation of an uncomfortable, racing, irregular heartbeat or a feeling of “flip-flopping” in the chest.
The findings of the study indicate that there is a real need for examining the way that people work –particularly how much and over what period of time – in order to inhibit health risks that could result in serious illness or death. If working long hours indeed contributes to the development of atrial fibrillation, then capping off weekly hours and regulating employee health could be the appropriate next step for employers to consider taking in the workplace.
Over 85,000 men and women were included in the study, none of who had a previous medical history of atrial fibrillation. The investigation spanned over 10 years, and required that participants indicate how many hours they work as well as indicating when they had an incident of atrial fibrillation. In order to measure the effects of rigorous work hours, participants were expected to maintain the same number of hours from when they started throughout the entire duration of the study. Regardless of how the researchers altered certain factors in their investigation, such as whether or not participants smoked, consumed alcohol, were obese, had depression or high blood pressure, the results remained the same: people who worked longer hours were at an increased risk for cardiovascular problems.
The study found that people who worked more than 55 hours a week were at a 40% higher chance for having atrial fibrillation than those who worked a steady 35 to 40 hours each week. The study did not specify the participants’ type of work nor did it note whether a participant was at a higher risk for atrial fibrillation due to preexisting medical conditions or family history.
The lead author of the investigation said that the findings indicate that the risk of working long hours on a person’s overall health is comparable to the risks that come with having diabetes, obesity, heart failure and hypertension. While her assertion is not conclusive, it does point to the importance of further scientific inquiries to discover just how much being overworked can affect a person’s physical health.
The findings of this study bring light to an important and often-ignored issue: the physical health and wellbeing of people who work long hours. Such strong initial findings warrant future investigations, especially to protect workers’ health.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Pursue Recoveries for Work Injuries
If you are worried that working longer than normal hours could be negatively affecting your cardiac health, we urge you to contact your medical provider. The Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers are happy to answer your questions and review your case to help you fight for what you deserve. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Galfand Berger serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form. #heartdisease