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Long working week 'may increase risk of irregular heartbeat'

WORK/LIFE BALANCE: long working week 'may increase risk of irregular heartbeat'

"LONG WORKING days can cause heart problems, study says," The Guardian reports.

Researchers found people who work 55 or more hours a week had an increased risk of developing a type of irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation, where the heart can beat very fast.

Complications of atrial fibrillation include stroke and heart failure.
The researchers pooled data from eight studies across western Europe, including data from more than 85,000 adults.

Overall, they found people who worked the longest (55 hours or more) a week had about a 40% increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation over 10 years.

But only 1.2% of the whole group studied developed atrial fibrillation, so the actual baseline risk is very small. Even if your risk was increased by 40%, this is still only a 1.7% risk.

Many health and lifestyle factors could have contributed to the link – for example, people who worked longer hours may have been more likely to have unhealthier lifestyle habits. The studies may not have fully accounted for these.

The best way to reduce your risk of heart and vascular problems is to have a healthy, balanced diet, take regular exercise, and avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol.

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