Next up in this week’s news items is a look at how workaholics are putting themselves at risk for strokes simply by working extra overtime. I think this can apply to many of the nurses out there who are constantly asked to pick up extra shifts by their employers. In a study from the journal The Lancet, University College London researchers looked at the cardiovascular disease risks for people who work a lot of extra overtime in the course of doing their jobs.

Workaholics Have Extra Health Risks

Overtime-time-clockThe study’s authors gathered data from 25 international studies that covered more than 600,000 people in many countries around the world and looked at health outcomes after a variety of variables were tracked. When compared to workers who worked a standard 35-40 hour work week, those who worked more than 55 hours with overtime were more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease.

There was an additional risk for patients getting a stroke if they worked a significant amount of extra overtime hours. Also, the longer the hours were, the more likely a stroke was going to be suffered. When looking at possible causes that tied back to longer work hours, the authors speculated that physical activity levels, and higher alcohol consumption, and stress levels could all contribute to the problem.

Pay Attention to Modifiable Risk Factors

The authors also noted that people who worked long hours were less likely to make preventative care doctor’s appointments or make time for sick care in the health care system. This all puts them at increased risk for a broad range of potentially preventable or manageable problems.

So what’s the solution for you, the overworked nurse, or for your workaholic patients? It comes down to working on the modifiable risk factors you can change. Maybe you can’t slow down at work, but you can make time for more activity and regular exercise. You can improve your diet and reduce fat and cholesterol intake.

Of course, it would be nice to work shorter shifts and fewer hours, too. What do you think about this? Are you a workaholic nurse? Shoot me an email and give me your thoughts on this article. I look forward to hearing from you.

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 – Networking Tips for Nurses with Keith Carlson and Episode 360.

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