While you may already be aware of research that links working irregular shifts with increased risks for breast cancer and diabetes, a study published online on BMJ suggests that you’ll need to add cardiovascular ailments to the mix as well, reports MedicalNewsToday.com. And that’s on top of the more mundane issues of stress, the disruption of the circadian rhythm, and the difficulty of achieving a work-life balance.

Results of the study indicate that, on average, those who work irregular hours or are on the mid-shift or night shift have a 24-percent higher risk for coronary events, a 23-percent higher risk for heart attack, and a 5-percent higher risk for stroke than those who work standard day shifts. In fact, those who worked the night shift were found to have a 41-percent risk for coronary events.

The researchers, who belonged to an international team made up of Canadians and Norwegians, were able to work out these numbers by reviewing 34 studies that covered a total of over 2 million participants. However, they caution that the results linking shift work and cardiovascular disease is “controversial,” reports MedicalNewsToday.com. This is partially because of the variety of studies they used as the basis for their research as well as the datedness of some of the analyses.

Controversy aside, however, the researchers underscore the importance of their findings, given the high frequency of shift work in their own countries. This may be even more significant for countries like the Philippines, in which a large number of people are employed by companies engaged in business process outsourcing (BPO). And while it may not be possible for everyone to switch to a regular day shift, awareness of the health risks that come with shift work will at least help companies and employees alike be more vigilant about early detection and prevention.

This means that, if you work an unusual shift, it’s even more important for you to adopt a healthy lifestyle with regard to diet, exercise, de-stressing, and more. You should also find out about early warning signs of heart problems so you won’t be caught unawares if you find yourself or a coworker manifesting these symptoms.

(Photo from Outsourced courtesy of Universal Media Studios and In Cahoots Productions)

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