A life insurance underwriting veteran has the data: Working too hard too often could give you a stroke.
Hank George, who spent years writing an underwriting column for National Underwriter Life & Health, talks about the effects of long hours on stroke risk in a new commentary.
George found a recent medical journal article, by a group of researchers led by Marc Fadel, that looked at stroke risk for adults in France.
The researchers used a broad definition of “long work hours.”
The researchers counted a worker as having long work hours if the worker worked more than 10 hours per day for 50 days per year — in other words, if a worker had a work day more than 10 hours long an average of just one day per week.
About 0.9% of the people included in the researchers’ study population had a stroke during the time period covered.
Using the researchers’ definition of long work hours, long work hours increased the overall risk of stroke by 29%, even after adjusting for risk factors such as age, gender, blood pressure, family history and smoking habits.
Here’s how working long hours for at least 10 years affected the risk of stroke for some other groups of workers:
- All workers with long hours: 45%
- Workers with low-skilled white-collar jobs: 70%
- Workers with high-skilled, white-collar jobs: 77%
- All workers under 50: 128%
George writes that this kind of data might be relevant to the level of health risk facing his own insurance professional readers, not just the general insured population.
“It is increasingly common for many highly skilled professionals, including underwriters, to be asked to work additional hours, often routinely and on an extended basis,” George writes. “Therefore, we are concerned whether this impacts morbidity and mortality. If it does, to what extent?”
George says long work hours could lead to increased risk of heart attacks and other ominous consequences, not just increased stroke risk.
Fadel and his colleagues “observed that clinical medicine should strive to find prevention strategies,” George writes. “One strategy should be rather obvious here!”
— Read 10 States Where Stroke May Hurt Your Sales, on ThinkAdvisor.