Researchers Link Night Shifts with Higher Risk of Heart Problems
Researchers have conducted a study, in combination with previous studies, to find the correlation between night shift workers and heart problems.
Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell
What’s the Latest Development?
According to researchers, people who work the graveyard shift, or other irregular work hours outside of daytime hours are at a higher risk of a heart attack, stroke or other coronary problems. The study analyzed two million "industrialized" participants worldwide, along with the results from 34 previous studies relevant to the topic—and have estimated that "shift workers are at 23% greater risk of heart attacks than the other workers, 5% greater risk of ischemic stroke, and 24% greater risk of all coronary events combined (a category that includes heart attack but not stroke)."
What’s the Big Idea?
A recent study has confirmed for researchers that people who work outside of daytime hours have worse heart health than people who work daytime hours. However, researchers do not know why the people with irregular work hours are at a higher risk of heart problems—as shift workers are employed in a broad area of industry jobs such as retail, healthcare, transportation—and they can be highly skilled or unskilled workers. Researchers documented that “shift work can disrupt sleep cycles and circadian rhythms, and that many night-shift workers in particular report insomnia, which is an independent risk factor for heart attack." In addition, they noted that "irregular working hours can also be a source of stress.”
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The results come from a 15-year study that used ultrasound scans to track blood vessels in middle-aged adults starting in 2002.
- The study measured the stiffness of blood vessels in middle-aged patients over time.
- Stiff blood vessels can lead to the destruction of delicate blood vessels in the brain, which can contribute to cognitive decline.
- The scans could someday become a widely used tool to identify people at high risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's.
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