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The #1 Work Schedule That Could Kill Women – 2 Tips to Avoid It!

By on May 6, 2016
Heart disease is on the rise, and for women over 40, their risk continues to increase.

Now research shows one reason why women face a higher risk.

According to research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, women who did rotating night shift work were 18 percent more likely to develop coronary heart disease, or CHD, the most common form of heart disease. They now suggest that avoiding this type of work could help reduce the risk of CHD.

The findings now appear in the research journal JAMA.

“There are a number of known risk factors for coronary heart disease, such as smoking, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and elevated body mass index (BMI),” says Celine Vetter, Ph.D. an associate epidemiologist and chronobiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “However, even after controlling for these risk factors, we still saw an increased risk of CHD associated with rotating shift work.”

The Research

Drawing data from the Nurses’ Health Study I and II, two of the longest-running studies on female health, researchers looked at data from over 189,000 women, detailing their lifetime work habits. Researchers also examined their coronary health for any problems associated with heart disease, such as chest pain, a heart attack, or coronary artery surgery. They suspected that night shift work would affect their risk–and they were right.

Comparing both sets of data, they soon found that women who did rotating night shift work for more than 10 years were 15 to 18 percent more likely to develop CHD, regardless of other health factors. This risk diminished when they switched to a normal work schedule, however, suggesting that the effects are reversible.

“Even though the absolute risk is small, and the contribution of shift work to CHD is modest, it is important to note that this is a modifiable risk factor, and changing shift schedules may have an impact on the prevention of CHD,” says Vetter. “Our results are in line with other findings, yet, it is possible that different schedules might carry a different risk, and we have very little information on exact schedules, as well as work start and end times.”

While researchers are hesitant to make a recommendation, the findings are clear: Any type of night shift work just isn’t healthy. Now, your heart could pay the price.

What You Should Do

To reduce your risk of CHD by as much as 18 percent, having a daytime work schedule is a must, say experts. If you are unable to switch to different work hours, however, you’ll need to focus on other healthy habits to counteract its ill effects–such as exercising more or avoiding foods that exacerbate heart abnormalities.

Readers: What do you think? Do you think working at night could affect your health?

Sources:
Increased Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Seen Among Women Who Work Rotating Night ShiftsScienceDaily.com
Association Between Rotating Night Shift Work and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Among Women (Study)JAMANetwork.com

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