A study recently published in Lancet says yes. Compared to people who worked 35 to 40 hours per week, those who worked 41 to 48 hours were 10% more likely to suffer a stroke, and those who worked 40 to 54 hours were 27% more likely. Stroke risk climbs to 33% for those who work more than 55 hours per week. The same seems to hold true for heart disease, but the increase is less at 13% for those who work over 55 hours.
There is still hope for workaholics. It is likely that they spend more time sitting at their desks and do not exercise. Even if they can exercise, sitting for long periods increases risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, they are more likely to unwind with alcohol, and heavy drinking is a recognized risk factor for stroke. Workaholics also are more likely to be under more stress, also deleterious to the cardiovascular system.
If you must be a workaholic, as many doctors are, get a standing desk or buy a Fitbit or an Apple Watch to guilt you into standing and moving.
Jack Florin, MD
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