Long hours at work can be bad for your heart, according to a major study. Those working the longest hours were more overweight, had higher blood pressure, smoked more and consumed more alcohol.
It’s been established that too many hours in the office can increase the risk of a stroke. Now it seems that clocking up more than 55 hours a week means a 40% higher chance of developing an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation (AF), when compared to those with a better work-life balance.
AF happens because the natural electrical impulses controlling the heart’s normal regular rhythm lose their co-ordination. Sufferers may get palpitations – the sensation of a racing or irregular pulse – as well as feeling breathless and dizzy.
But some people with AF get no symptoms at all, which is why the British Heart Foundation encourages people to check whether their pulse is regular and to see a GP if they have any doubts. It’s important to diagnose AF because it increases the chance of having a stroke five-fold, and blood thinning treatments can greatly lower this risk.