Working Overtime Is As Serious As a Heart Attack

Long work hours can increase heart attack risk.  Working overtime can make a person more likely to suffer from angina, non-fatal heart attacks or even death from heart conditions, according to an 11-year-long study published in the European Heart Journal. In fact, people who work at least three hours beyond a normal workday are 60 percent likelier to have heart disease than those who do not put in any overtime.

According to the Whitehall II study, a long-term examination of the health of more than 10,000 London office workers, employees who work overtime tend to be Type A people.  In general, Type A people are more prone to heart disease and to be more depressed and anxious.  The researchers were led by Marianna Virtanen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and University College London.  The study found that overtime work “has increased in recent years”  and that the United States ranked well above average in terms of overtime hours and related heart disease.

“Decision latitude” in the workplace appears to reduce the link between working overtime and angina rates.  In other words, opting to work long hours is not as hard on the heart as having to work long hours.

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