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Shift work linked to higher heart attack, stroke risk

Published by Guardian on Sat, 04 Aug 2012


AN analysis that reviews studies covering over two million people finds shift work is associated with a higher risk for vascular events, such as heart attack and ischemic stroke. The study is the largest examination of shift work and vascular risk to date.The researchers, from Canada and Norway, write about their findings in a paper published online in the BMJ on Thursday.They report that compared to regular daytime workers, shift workers had a 24 per cent higher risk for coronary events, a 23 per cent higher risk for heart attack, and a five per cent higher risk for stroke. Night shift workers had the highest risk for coronary events (41 per cent).However, shift work was not linked to a higher risk of death (from any cause). Why study shift work' Scientists have known for a while that shift work upsets the body's natural body clock (circadian rhythm) and work-life balance, and a number of studies have linked it to health problems, such as increased risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.A link with diabetes is also well-established, for instance, a Harvard-led study reported that rotating shift work is linked to higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
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