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Long Work Hours at the Office Linked to High Blood Pressure

blood pressure

Office workers who spend long hours on the job are more likely to have high blood pressure, including a type that can go undetected during a routine medical appointment, according to a new study published today in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.

The new study, conducted by a Canadian research team, enlisted more than 3,500 white-collar employees at three public institutions in Quebec. These institutions generally provide insurance services to the general population. Compared with colleagues who worked fewer than 35 hours a week:

  • Working 49 or more hours each week was linked to a 70% greater likelihood of having masked hypertension and 66% greater likelihood of having sustained hypertension- elevated blood pressure readings in and out of a clinical setting.
  • Working between 41 and 48 hours each week was linked to a 54% greater likelihood of having masked hypertension and 42% greater likelihood of having sustained hypertension.
  • The findings accounted for variables such as job strain, age, sex, education level, occupation, smoking status, body mass index and other health factors.

“Both masked and sustained high blood pressure are linked to higher cardiovascular disease risk,” said lead study lead author Xavier Trudel, Ph.D., assistant professor in the social and preventive medicine department at Laval University in Quebec, Canada.

“The link between long working hours and high blood pressure in the study was about the same for men as for women,” Trudel said.

“People should be aware that long work hours might affect their heart health, and if they’re working long hours, they should ask their doctors about checking their blood pressure over time with a wearable monitor,” Trudel said. “Masked hypertension can affect someone for a long period of time and is associated, in the long term, with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease“.

More information on Study Detail: Xavier Trudel et al, Long Working Hours and the Prevalence of Masked and Sustained Hypertension, Hypertension (2019).DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.119.12926

Provided by American Heart Association

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