In a recent study published in the European Heart Journal, researchers found people who work night shifts are at increased risk of developing an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation (AF).
They found that the longer and more frequently people worked night shifts over their lifetimes, the greater their risk of AF.
Night shift work was also linked to an increased risk of heart disease, but not to stroke or heart failure.
One author of the study is Professor Yingli Lu.
In the study, the team examined the links between night shift work and AF. Using information from 283,657 people in the UK Biobank database.
These people did not have AF when they enrolled in UK Biobank, and 276,009 did not have heart failure or stroke.
They also tested whether genetic predisposition to AF could play a role in the increased risk.
The team found that people who currently worked night shifts on a usual or permanent basis had a 12% increased risk of AF compared to people who only worked during the day.
The risk increased to 18% after ten or more years for those who had a lifetime duration of night shifts.
Among people who worked an average of three to eight-night shifts a month for ten years or more, the risk of AF increased to 22% compared to daytime workers.
Among participants currently working night shifts, or working night shifts for ten or more years, or working a lifetime of three to eight-night shifts a month, the risk of coronary heart disease increased by 22%, 37% and 35% respectively compared to daytime workers.
In addition, women were more susceptible to atrial fibrillation than men when working night shifts for more than ten years. Their risk increased significantly by 64% compared to day workers.
People reporting an ideal amount of physical activity of 150 minutes a week or more of moderate-intensity, 75 minutes a week or more of vigorous-intensity, or an equivalent combination, had a lower risk of atrial fibrillation than those with non-ideal physical activity when exposed to a lifetime of night shift work.
Thus, women and less physically active people may benefit particularly from a reduction in night shift work.
The team plans to analyze the association between night shift work and atrial fibrillation in different groups of people.
This may strengthen the reliability of these results and serve as a warning to groups working in certain types of occupations to get their hearts checked early if they feel any pain or discomfort in their chests.
If you care about heart problems, please read studies about Mediterranean diet with lean beef may lower your risk of heart disease and findings of working 55 hours a week may increase death risk in heart disease.
For more information about heart disease, please see recent studies about maintaining normal blood pressure over long term is the key to heart health and results showing that this type of snacks may increase your death risk in heart disease, cancer.
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