People who regularly put in overtime and work 10 or 11-hour days increase their heart disease risk by nearly two-thirds, research suggests.
The findings come from a study of 6,000 British civil servants, published online in the European Heart Journal.
After accounting for known heart risk factors such as smoking, doctors found those who worked three to four hours of overtime a day ran a 60% higher risk.
Experts said the findings highlighted the importance of work-life balance.
Overall, there were 369 cases where people suffered heart disease that caused death, had a heart attack or developed angina.
And the number of hours spent working overtime appeared to be strongly linked in many cases.
The researchers said there could be a number of explanations for this.
People who spend more time at work have less time to exercise, relax and unwind.
They may also be more stressed, anxious, or have depression.
A career-minded person will also tend to be a “Type A” personality who is highly driven, aggressive or irritable, they say.
“Employees who work overtime may also be likely to work while ill – that is, be reluctant to be absent from work despite illness,” they add.
Lead researcher Mianna Virtanen, an epidemiologist at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki and University College London, said: “More research is needed before we can be confident that overtime work would cause coronary heart disease.”…