Working long hours can kill you – increasing risk of stroke by 50%, experts warn

PEOPLE who work long hours are almost a third more likely to suffer a stroke, a study suggests.

Those who grafted more than ten hours a day for at least 50 days a year had a 29 per cent higher risk.

1 Working more than ten hours a day increases your risk of stroke by 30 per cent, or 50 per cent if you work long days for a decade, experts have warnedCredit: Getty – Contributor

And if they worked long hours for more than ten years this rose to 45 per cent.

Researchers from Paris Hospital say people should “work more efficiently” so they can cut hours.

Their warning comes after they analysed health and work data on 143,592 people aged 18 to 69.

Some 29.6 per cent worked long hours and 10.1 per cent had done so for more than a decade.

Medical records revealed 1,224 had suffered a stroke, with higher hours linked to a higher risk.

Women and the under-50s most at risk

Women, under-50s and those in professional, managerial or admin jobs were affected most.

Brits are among the hardest working in Europe in terms of the hours put in.

We spend an average of 1,681 hours a year at the coalface, compared with Germans’ 1,356 hours.

But our dedication to getting the job done also means our work-life balance is among the poorest in Europe.

Almost 13 per cent of Brits work more than 50 hours a week on average, compared with barely half a per cent of the Dutch and one per cent of Swedes.

Those of us in full-time employment work an average of 37 hours and 24 minutes a week.

And that's stopping us from having the time to exercise or cook healthy meals.

Docs have to follow their own advice

Dr Alexis Descatha said: “As a clinician, I will advise my patients to work more efficiently and plan to follow my own advice.”

While there's no definitely decided link between working long hours and stroke risk, the researchers suggested that irregular shifts, night work and job stress might be to blame.

You can reduce your risk

But there are things you can do to make up for the damage your job does.

Eat a healthy diet, find time to exercise (even if it's just walking part of the way to work), quit smoking and do what you can to get those eight hours of kip in a night.

Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), told HuffPost UK: “These findings might sound alarming for those amongst us who regularly work 10 hours or more in a day, and for many days of the year.

What are the symptoms of stroke?

The FAST method – which stands for Face, Arms, Speech, Time – is the easiest way to remember the most common symptoms of stroke:

If you recognise any of these signs, and believe somebody is having a stroke, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance immediately.

Other symptoms include:

  • sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • difficulty finding words
  • sudden blurred vision or loss of sight
  • sudden confusion, dizziness or unsteadiness
  • a sudden and severe headache
  • difficulty understanding what others are saying
  • difficulty swallowing

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"However, it is important to note that this type of observational study can only show an association, rather than prove cause and effect."

She said that more evidence was needed to work out just what exactly it is about working long hours that puts people at risk.

"Further studies would also need to explore how working conditions, such as the type of job and unusual shift patterns, relate to stroke risk."

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