A new study confirms that working more than 10 hours a day increases the risk of stroke. An occupational activity of fewer than 35 hours per week would expose you to the same risk.
According to a French study published last June in the magazine Stroke, working more than 10 hours a day, at least 50 days a year, increases the risk of stroke by 29%. The increase reaches 45% if the situation lasts longer than ten years. This is particularly true for people under 50 and applies to both men and women. As early as 2015, The Lancet sounded the alarm with a comprehensive meta-analysis of 603,838 people. There was a correlation between cardiovascular health and the number of hours worked. Those who worked 40 hours per week, as well as those who worked less than 35 hours per week, had an increased risk.
If you read these figures, there is only one thing you want to do: drop the pen, computer mouse or wrench and check your pulse to make sure all is well with your heart. Then you would want to try and work less than 10 hours per day and between 35 and 40 hours per week to be within the safe zone.
How to know if you are having a stroke?
One in 4 people, before they get a stroke, will first experience what is called a transient ischemic attack. Even if the symptoms disappear within a few minutes, the situation should be considered an emergency. You should know that a real stroke may occur in the following hours or days.
These are the signs you should watch out for:
- Loss of strength on one side of the body or face
- Loss of sensitivity on one side of the body or face
- Sudden difficulty talking
- Sudden visual disturbances
How to proceed?
Call 911 right away as every minute counts!
Lay the person in a safe position.
Do not give them anything to drink, eat and don’t give them any medicine without the advice of a doctor. Stay calm and try to continue talking with the person until help arrives.
The biggest danger that the number of hours worked pose is probably indirect: Too much work exposes you to the risk of neglecting factors that protect you from strokes, especially regular physical activity, a healthy diet, adequate sleep and time to recharge your batteries. And for those who work less than 35 hours chances are they live a sedentary lifestyle which could lead to stroke risk factors such as obesity and diabetes. It is, therefore, possible that the increase in risk is not due to excessive or inadequate working hours, but to an indicator of poor living.
However, a harmful lifestyle is often associated with problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, the excessive bad cholesterol. These factors are reflected more or less long-term in the heart and arteries, which become clogged more quickly. Under the pressure of intense activity and repeated stress, without enough time to recover, the neuro-cardiovascular system becomes tired and dysfunctional. Two major long-term consequences are possible: myocardial infarction and stroke.
Remember! The arteries and the heart are the main actors involved in a stroke. This usually happens when an artery that transports blood to the brain becomes clogged. We speak of an ischemic stroke. Without the blood and glucose that it needs permanently and absolutely, the brain suffers immediately. The other type of stroke called “hemorrhagic” is the result of bleeding in the brain itself after the arteries have ruptured under stress.
One of the first warning signs that the heart is suffering is arrhythmia which is generally perceived as heart palpitations. This is a sign to be considered because it shows that the heart is not as synchronous as it should be which could lead to the formation of a clot that could migrate to the brain and cause a stroke. While the mechanisms linking stress and cardiac vulnerability are numerous, complex and still unknown to some, the specialist points out another phenomenon that this time works at the blood level. Excessive stress can make blood hypercoagulable. Normally, a cocktail of enzymes and chemicals allows the blood to clot naturally and block small wounds. But when it becomes hypercoagulable, it promotes the formation of clots, which are potentially dangerous depending on where they go. And to emphasize it again: The best remedy for these types of vascular and heart diseases is by far physical activity. Unfortunately, the more hours you spend at work, the less time you have to take care of yourself.
With the establishment of clear links between professional activity and health (especially cardiovascular), the type of work and number of hours worked should now be part of the elements discussed during a medical examination, such as smoking, physical activity or even nutrition. The challenge is not the only individual but involves society as a whole
Simple things you can do in the office to avoid stroke are:
- Pay attention to behavior that seems to compensate for excessive stress: snacks, excessive consumption of fatty products, sugar, energy, and soft drinks, alcohol, tobacco, etc….
- Limit how long you stay in a sitting position by getting up regularly, e.g. to take a few steps or stretch ideally at least once an hour.
- Take the stairs as much as possible instead of the elevator.
- Pay attention to signs of stress and its effects (sleep disorders, irritability, etc.).
- Make time for regular physical activity! A fast walk is a good start: it is important to work the cardiovascular system (increased heart rate, sweating). Ideally, you should aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
- Depending on your needs and possibilities, make room for a power nap at noon.
- Find some time to calm your mind down once a week for example through meditation or Yoga.