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Ask Dr. Nandi: Longer work hours may raise stroke risk

Posted: 9:25 PM, Jun 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-26 21:25:57-04

Americans often pride themselves about being hard workers, but a new study finds that long hours are tied to more health risks.

If you’re clocking more than 10 hours a day at your job, you could be putting your health at risk for a stroke. And I’m not talking 10 hours a day every day.

You only have to work 10 hour days for 50 days a year to increase your risk of a stroke by almost 30 percent. And if you’ve been working these really long days for over ten years, now your risk has jumped to 45 percent.

Maybe you’re thinking, I’m too young for this to happen - but the risk is even stronger if you’re under the age of 50. And this is surprising because age tends to make us more susceptible to having a stroke. I know this firsthand as my beloved father had a stroke and it was extremely life-changing for not just him but for my entire family.

Now a stroke happens when blood flow is blocked to a part of your brain, or when a blood vessel bursts in the brain. This can damage the brain and lead to lasting brain damage. It can even kill you.

But the good news is that up to 80% of strokes are preventable. And I’ve got my prescriptions to help you lower your chances:

  1. Know your blood pressure numbers and keep it under control. If you don’t, it can double even quadruple your risk of stroke.
  2. If you smoke, please quit. Smoking can actually speed up clot formation.
  3. Maintain an ideal weight and lose the pounds if you need to. Even 10 pounds can have a positive impact.
  4. If you have an irregular heartbeat called Atrial Fibrillation, be sure to have it treated. It carries almost a fivefold risk of stroke.

And of course, be active, drink moderately, sleep well and eat a healthy diet. And when it comes to those long work days, try to work more efficiently and get out earlier if you can. You really need to make time for other things in your life that bring happiness and a positive work-life balance.