Long hours in the office could make workers more likely to have a heart problem, according to research published in the European Heart Journal.
The research, which studied 6,000 British civil servants, examined the link between working overtime and a higher risk of coronary heart disease in white collar workers.
It found that people who regularly put in overtime and work ten or 11 hour days increase their heart disease risk by nearly two-thirds. After accounting for known heart risk factors such as smoking, doctors found those who worked three to four hours of overtime a day ran a 60% higher risk of heart-related problems.
Lead researcher, Mianna Virtanen, an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki and University College London, said:
"More research is needed before we can be confident that overtime work would cause coronary heart disease."
Cathy Ross, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the study, said:
“This study raises further questions about how our working lives can influence our risk of heart disease. Although the researchers showed a link between working more than three hours overtime everyday and heart problems the reasons for the increased risk weren’t clear.
“The researchers suggest a number of reasons – ‘hidden’ high blood pressure, reduced sleeping hours and psychological stress. These may affect the mechanisms that cause heart disease, but it could simply be that working long hours means we’ve less time to look after ourselves.
“If we’re stuck in the office we’ve less time to relax, get a good night’s sleep, and take enough physical activity, all of which have been found to help reduce stress levels and protect against heart disease.”