Working Long Shifts May Increase the Risk of Stroke

Source: John Paul Ramirez - 123RF

If you’ve been working long hours or grabbing extra overtime hours, and this has been going on for 10 years or more, your chances of having a cerebrovascular accident – CVA – or stroke – are heightened.

According to research published in Stroke, participants in a survey conducted by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research who worked long hours had a 29% greater risk of stroke, and that percentage jumped to 45 for those who did so for a decade or more.

Alexis Descatha, a physician and researcher at the Institute says that previous research has shown that irregular shifts, night shifts, and job strain are among the most common contributors to unhealthy work conditions.

The survey covered nearly 144,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 69 that started in 2012. Of this group, 29.6% reported working long hours – defined as 10 hours or more a day for at least 50 days a year – while 10.1% said they did the same for 10 years or more. Overall, 1,224 (0.9%) had suffered a stroke.

According to the CDC, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of serious disability for adults. About 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year.

Signs of stroke in men and women include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body;
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech;
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination; and
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do the following simple test:

F—Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A—Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S—Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?

T—Time: If you see any of these signs, call 9-1-1 right away.

According to the CDC, you may be able to prevent stroke or lower your chances of having a stroke.