American Heart Association: Working Long Hours Increases Stroke Risk

By: Tim Studebaker

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Carol Conley is a heart attack and stroke survivor.

Conley says, “It was very frightening.  Like I said, the symptoms weren’t that intense.  I had a bad headache the night before.  I had vision issues.”

She credits her boss with saving her life.

Conley says, “I went to lunch with my wonderful boss who recognized the symptoms of a stroke and took me to the hospital.”

She says lots of factors could have led to her heart attack and stroke, including the stress of working a second job as a tour guide, traveling all around the country.  That took up much of her free time.

Conley says, “I think it contributed to my not getting good enough sleep and not eating the right foods.”

It’s a problem Dr. Brian Mac Grory at the Rhode Island Hospital Stroke Center says he sees every day in his practice.

Mac Grory says, “I tend to see people sometimes who are very overworked … maybe don’t make their own health care a priority.”

And, it’s the subject of new research released by the American Heart Association, which says working long hours for 10 years or more leads to an increased risk of stroke.

Mac Grory says, “That difference persisted no matter what type of job it was.  It persisted for both men and women.  It persisted for people of different age groups.”

He says it’s important to make time for sleep, to see your primary care doctor, and to do things you enjoy outside of work to control your stress.  These are changes Conley was forced to make after her heart attack and stroke.

Conley says, “I no longer work my second job, as much as I loved it and had a wonderful time, got to see wonderful places, meet terrific people.  I realized that I needed more time for myself.”

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