People who work three or more hours longer than a normal, seven-hour day have a 60% higher chance of heart disease.
This has got to be a dream come true. The European Heart Journal has published a report today that follows from a big ass study of more than 10,000 civil servants in the UK. Dr Marianna Virtanen, an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki (Finland) and University College London (UK), says that independent of being a fat, smoking and all the usual bull that gets you killed, overworking can cause heart disease.
To be exact:
“Our findings suggest a link between working long hours and increased CHD [coronary heart disease] risk, but more research is needed before we can be confident that overtime work would cause CHD. In addition, we need more research on other health outcomes, such as depression and type 2 diabetes.”
The research is called the Whitehall II study, and it began in 1985. 10,308 office staff aged 35-55 from 20 civil service departments were recruited.Researchers found 369 cases of fatal CHD, non-fatal heart attacks (myocardial infractions) or angina. After making adjustments to take into account the impact of age, sex, marital status and occupational grade, the results showed that working three to four hours overtime (but not one to two hours) was associated with a 60% higher rate of CHD compared with no overtime work.
The scientists, not knowing when to let a good thing go, also went on to say that there could be a number of possible explanations other than, My boss is a bastard who wants me dead, broke, or both. Chief among the other excuses is overtime is related to Type A personalities - aggressive, competitive, annoying overachievers with no life - who are rushing to an early grave anyhow. Then there's depression and anxiety in the subject, high blood pressure that is masked or lack of sleep, or lack of hot cocoa time before bed; high blood pressure not discovered during regular check-ups, or just the fact that some people are sick on the job and won't deal with it.
Which goes back to my own original findings through empirical study: My boss is a bastard who won't let me miss a day of work because, I am more use to him dead than alive.
I see a pattern here. Don't you.
Anyhow, I digress, most awesome Dr Virtanen said that their findings were independent of all of the above so, they don't have a conclusive reason why overtime was associated with the higher risk of heart disease. But, researchers also warned: “Although our cohort of civil servants included several occupational grades, it did not include blue collar workers. Thus, it remains unclear whether our findings are generalizeable to blue-collar workers and employees in the private sector.”
Just stop working. That's the best advice anyone can give you under the circumstances. Why risk it, eh?