Working Long Hours Can Damage Your Health - But So Can Working Very Few

September 18, 1998

(Working hours as a risk factor for acute myocardial infarction in Japan: case-control study)

It is suspected that extremely long working hours increases the risk of sudden death from too much occupational stress, but few medical studies have examined whether working hours influence the risk of heart attack (acute myocardial infarction). In a Japanese study published in this week's BMJ, Dr Shigeru Sokejima and Professor Sadanobu Kagamimori report that there is a 'U' shaped association between the mean monthly working hours and the risk of heart attack (ie those people who work very few or very long hours are at greatest risk). The authors also found that the risk increased with the number of hours people worked. They suggest that further research should be conducted to assess why this relationship exists, particularly in Japan where the incidence of heart attack is relatively low.

Dr Shigeru Sokejima, Department of Welfare Promotion and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine,Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Japan


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