Shift work linked to heart attack, stroke

Night workers face steepest increase in risk (41 per cent) for coronary event: Study
By Amanda Silliker
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/10/2012

Shift workers are more likely to experience major vascular problems, such as a heart attack or stroke, than colleagues who work the day shift, according to a Canadian-led study.

Shift work is associated with a 23 per cent increased risk of heart attack, a 24 per cent increased risk of a coronary event and a five per cent increased risk of stroke, found “Shift Work and Vascular Events: Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis,” published July 26 in the online British Medical Journal (BMJ).

“Some doctors are now calling shift work the new carcinogen,” said Don Melnychuk, director of Nadon Consulting in Edmonton and a specialist in stress, fatigue and shift work. “All the writing is on the wall with regards to cardiovascular disease and what shift work does to your different cycles and it was just a matter of time before this happened — and it will get worse before it gets better.”