Work less and relax more in order to live a longer, possibly healthier life. A new study proves that working too hard and too much can literally kill you, most likely with a stroke or a heart attack.
Your body is a complex machine which gives you signals when something is wrong. There is a limited amount of stress that it can handle, so you should avoid pushing it beyond the limits too hard unless you want to die too soon.
A team of researchers looked at the data of more than half a million people all over the world (The United States, Australia and various parts of Europe) and tracked them for more than eight years. When they drew the line, they recorded more than 4,700 cases of heart disease and more than 1,700 instances of stroke.
“Working conditions are important determinants of people’s health. Some of these conditions might be difficult to change because of the nature of the work (eg, underground work, climate conditions, or toxic exposures), but the length of a working day is a human decision,” said Urban Janlert from Ulmea University in Sweden. They also adjusted the data after taking into account variables that could have an impact on the result, such as age, gender and socioeconomic status.
The researchers added that when the long working hours threaten our health, it depends on us to change them. The same might not always be said about other environmental factors that could affect us.
The data showed that people who spent more than 55 hours at their jobs increased their risk of suffering a stroke by a third compared to those who had a normal schedule of up to eight hours every day. Those who worked a few hours more than the average 40 per week also faced a higher risk of stroke by more than 10 percent.
Even if the researchers analyzed the relation between long working hours and strokes, they also found that these people were also more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease.
It is a known fact that people who have less free time also find it difficult to include physical exercise in their daily schedule and are more inclined to eat unhealthy meals, simply because they don’t have time to cook.
The results of the study also met some criticism, given the fact that it was purely observational and that other factors, such as family history or blood pressure were not taken into account.
Nevertheless, health experts agree that a great amount of stress at work does lead to strokes and, consequently, to premature death.
The study was published in the journal The Lancet earlier this week.
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