Story by: Lynne Choate on June 21, 2016
Your work “to-do” list needs to include cutting hours. Experts say working over 40 hours a week for an extended period of time increases your risk for heart disease — and even a deadly heart attack.
Most Americans who work full time report being on the job an average of 47 hours per week. According to a recent study, those extra hours can increase your chance of getting heart disease up to 16 percent — putting you at risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, angina, heart failure and heart attack.
“Work-related stress has been the topic of conversation for years when it comes to our health, especially our heart health,” said Sean Stewart, M.D., cardiologist with Norton Heart Specialists. “The amount of time we spend on the clock can be stressful, limit our physical activity and enable us to make poor health choices — all leading to an increased risk for any level of heart disease.”
According to a recent Gallup poll, about 50 percent of us work more than 40 hours per week. Typically we work more hours in our 30s and 40s, which also happens to be the peak time for the development of early stages of heart disease.
“The more time someone spends at work, the less time and energy they have for stress-relieving activities, exercise, eating healthfully and getting proper rest,” Dr. Stewart said.
If you can’t cut the hours, what can you do? Dr. Stewart recommends:
In addition to work, lots of other things play a role in your risk for heart disease. Do you know how healthy your heart is? Take a quick online heart disease risk assessment to find out.
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