All work and no play? A stroke could be on its way

A large multi-national study has suggested that working long hours can increase the risk of having a stroke, as well as other potentially serious conditions.1

The research was carried out across Europe, reviewing the findings of 25 previous studies assessing over 600,000 people who were free from cardiovascular disease when the study started.

It found that working in excess of 55 hours a week increased the risk of stroke by around a third, in comparison to those who worked 9-5. There was also a 13% increase in risk of heart disease.

While the size of the study is certainly a strength, there were still some weaknesses. The study itself cannot prove cause and effect as there are several lifestyle and genetic factors which can also increase the risk of stroke. The studies also came from wealthy countries, making it more difficult to generalise the findings to all people around the world.

However, the findings do give further backing to the idea that working too many hours can have a detrimental effect on our health. If you feel you are working too many hours, it may be worth speaking to your manager about any concerns, and also ensuring you take healthy steps to improve your lifestyle.


1 Kivimäki P, Jokela M, Nyberg ST, et al. Long working hours and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis of published and unpublished data for 603 838 individuals. The Lancet. Published online August 19 2015

News sources

Stroke 'more likely' with long hours. BBC News, August 20 2015

Working longer hours increases stroke risk, major study finds. The Guardian, August 20 2015

Hard work really can kill, as longer hours increase risk of stroke. The Daily Telegraph, August 20 2015

Working long hours can increase stroke risk, research finds. Daily Mail, August 20 2015

Long hours at work increase risk of a stroke, scientists find. Daily Mirror, August 20 2015

Working long hours increase stroke risk, research says. ITV News, August 20 2015


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