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Posted at 6:43 AM ET, 05/13/2010

Too much OT may be bad for health

By Washington Post editors

Folks who logged three or more hours of OT had a 60 percent higher risk of heart-related problems. Those problems included non-fatal heart attacks, angina and death due to heart disease, WTOP reports.

The study followed 10,000 British civil servants, starting in 1985.

Workers who put in an extra hour or two beyond their seven-hour day didn't have a higher risk, but those who clocked three or four extra hours did.

"Our findings suggest a link between working long hours and increased CHD [coronary heart disease] risk, but more research is needed before we can be confident that overtime work would cause CHD," says Dr. Marianna Virtanen, an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki.

Researchers say there could be a number of explanations for the connection between overtime and heart disease. Contributing factors, they say, could include Type-A personalities, depression, anxiety, not enough sleep and high blood pressure. What they call "sick presenteeism" -- where you work OT while sick -- also may factor in.

The study's authors say it remains unclear whether the findings would translate to blue-collar workers and private sector employees.

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By Washington Post editors  | May 13, 2010; 6:43 AM ET
Tags:  Cardiovascular Disorders, Civil service, Conditions and Diseases, Health, Heart disease, Occupational safety and health, Research  
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