Working shifts 'increases coronary risk'

27 July 2012

People who work shifts have a higher risk of experiencing a coronary event, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The report analysed 34 studies of 2,011,935 people to establish an association between shift work and risk of myocardial infarction, ischaemic stroke and any coronary event a total and found that participants suffered 17,359 coronary events of some sort, with 6,598 having myocardial infarctions and 1,854 experiencing ischaemic strokes.

The experts found that shift work was associated with a 23 per cent rise in the risk of heart attack, a 24 per cent increase risk of coronary events and a five per cent rise in stroke risk.

According to the data, people who work night shifts are 41 per cent more likely than controls to suffer a coronary event.

The authors noted that the findings have several implications, with the increased risk of vascular disease in shift workers suggesting that people who do such work should be vigilant about risk factor modification, regardless of the explanation.

"Screening programmes for modifiable risk factors in shift workers have yielded substantial burdens of treatable risk factors, including dyslipidaemia, smoking, glucose intolerance, and hypertension," the report noted.

"Shift workers should be educated about cardiovascular symptoms in an effort to forestall or avert the earliest clinical manifestations of disease."

Posted by Philip Briggs


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