What are the Health Risks of Working Long Hours?

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People who work long hours on a regular basis are often exhausted and stressed out. For many of these people, having the weekend to enjoy some rest and relaxation is all they need to de-stress and recharge. However, for some workers, putting in long hours can cause health problems. According to a recent study, working more than 40 hours per week can increase workers’ risk of developing high blood pressure and masked hypertension, which does not appear during a standard screening. It is highly recommended that people who tend to work long hours talk to their doctor about a wearable device that can monitor their blood pressure over time.

High blood pressure can often be controlled by making dietary and lifestyle changes, or by taking medication. However, if a worker has masked hypertension, and the typical blood pressure screening test does not catch it, it can go untreated. If the condition continues to progress, the worker may be at an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

High Blood Pressure Common Among White Collar Workers

The study, which was published recently in the American Heart Association’s journal, Hypertension, looked at 3,500 workers from three institutions over a period of five years. Participants wore a monitor, which checked their resting blood pressure in the morning. Throughout the day, the monitor took readings every 15 minutes. Blood pressure readings of 135/85 or above while at work were considered high. Researchers found the following results from working over 40 hours per week:

  • Workers had a 70 percent greater chance of having masked hypertension.
  • Workers had a 66 percent greater chance of having regular sustained hypertension.
  • Those who worked 41 to 48 hours per week had a 51 percent increased risk of sustained hypertension and a 33 percent greater risk of masked hypertension.
  • Close to 19 percent of workers had sustained hypertension, including those employees who were already taking medication to control their blood pressure.
  • Over 13 percent of workers had masked hypertension. Their high blood pressure was not being treated.
  • The link between high blood pressure and working long hours was the same for men and women.
  • The study focused only on white-collar workers who worked during the day. It did not include blue-collar workers who worked in industries like construction, manufacturing, mining, or hospitality.
  • The study only focused on work-related stressors, not outside factors.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), over 103 million adults in this country had high blood pressure in 2018. In 2015, high blood pressure caused over 79,000 deaths. Employers should discourage employees from making a habit of working long hours. Masked hypertension that is not treated can lead to more serious conditions, resulting in missed days of work, costly medical bills, and other expenses.

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Workers Who Suffer Due to High Blood Pressure

If you or a loved one has high blood pressure, or masked hypertension caused by long hours at work, contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will help you navigate the claims process and secure the maximum financial benefits you deserve. Our dedicated and compassionate team will continue to fight until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.