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It’s no secret that working extremely long hours during the week is bad for our health. It exerts us physically and mentally, stresses us out and takes away from the time we spend with out friends and family. Several studies have linked long work hours to impaired sleep, anxiety, depression and other mental/emotional health problems.

However, recent research has found that working long hours may actually be able to reduce your lifespan, especially if you’re a woman.

Long Work Hours, Cancer and Heart Disease

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Many people think that working longer hours will increase their risk of getting a raise, however a recent study revealed that it’s more likely to increase your risk of getting cancer or heart disease.

The study was conducted by a team from the Ohio State University and consisted of 7,500 participants. It took place over a 32 year time period and tracked the individual’s work hours along with health conditions that they developed later on in life.

72% of the study participants worked over 40 hours a week, 3% of which worked over 60 hours, while the other 28% worked under 40 hours a week.

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The study found that men who worked over 40 hours a week tended to have more cases of arthritis later on in life, possibly due to the physical nature of their jobs. The study also found that women who worked more than 40 hours a week had a significantly higher risk of developing deadly disease than men, and that women who worked more than 60 hours a week tripled their risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis.

Although the study concluded that longer work hours significantly affect the health of both men and women, researchers found that it had a much larger impact on women.

The lead author of the study, Professor Allard Dembe, of Ohio State University, suggested that long work hours may have more of an effect on women due to the fact that they have family obligations as well.

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“People don’t think that much about how their early work experiences affect them down the road,” Dembe told the Daily Mail. “Women in their 20s, 30s and 40s are setting themselves up for problems later in life.”

One surprising statistic that came from the study was that men who worked between 40-50 hours had a lower risk of heart disease than men who worked under 40 hours. Dembe says that this might be due to the difference that mandatory and voluntary overtime has on our health.

“You might still be working hard, but the fact that it’s your choice might help you stay healthier,” he said.

For information on how you can help reduce your risk of developing life threatening diseases, click here.

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