Next up is another cautionary tale about the risks of working shift work on a long term basis. According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine authors found that women were more at risk than men for early death related to cardiovascular risks of working night shift over time.
Study of 75,000 Night Shift Nurses
The international study looked at nearly 75,000 nurses over a number of years to determine how working shift work affected risk for cardiovascular disease and early causes of death. They found the risk factors highest for those who worked shift work for more than fifteen years but even for those who worked rotating shifts between seven and fourteen years there was increased risk.
This is research that just adds to the evidence coming in about the risks of working nightshift on the body. Researchers surmise that upsetting the sleep and circadian rhythms in a person has more significant effects on the physiology than previously thought. It is believed that this regulatory mechanism for sleep plays an important role in management of cardiovascular health and even things like anti-cancer tumor fighting activity in the body.
Rotating Shift Work Hard on the Body
For the purposes of the study, rotating shift work was defined as working at least three nights along with working days and evenings during a given month. This study will affect many of us who work night shift work long term. We can’t stop taking care of patients so now the research needs to start looking at what is exactly going on and how can we combat this problem.
It may be that nurses and others working nights will need to focus on other modifiable risk factors like activity and obesity to try and offset the risk from night work. I’ll stay on top of this one as it affects both my nursing and EMS friends out there working nights.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Developing Kidney Disease and Nursing Show Episode 329.