Working overtime promotes deadly hidden type of high blood pressure

Brittany A. Roston - Dec 24, 2019, 2:07pm CST
Working overtime promotes deadly hidden type of high blood pressure

The American Heart Association has published new research warning that people who work overtime at the office are at greater risk of developing a deadly type of high blood pressure that doesn’t typically manifest in the doctor’s office. Referred to as masked or ‘hidden’ high blood pressure, the condition may remain untreated due to the difficulty in detecting it.

High blood pressure is a dangerous health condition that, if left untreated, may result in a number of other health problems, including everything from heart disease to vision problems, kidney disease, vascular damage, and more. In order to treat high blood pressure, also called hypertension, it must first be detected, of course.

According to a new study published by the American Heart Association, white-collar workers who worked 49 or more hours per week were 70-percent likely to suffer from masked high blood pressure compared to people who work fewer than 35 hours per week.

This hidden type of high blood pressure is hard to detect because it is elevated while the person is at work but tends to return to normal by the time the individual goes to the doctor’s office. If left untreated for a long period of time, the hypertension may cause other chronic health conditions.

As well, these overtime workers were also 66-percent more likely to suffer from sustained high blood pressure, which means the readings stay high even when the person isn’t working. This type of high blood pressure is arguably worse because it remains high all day and night, but it is easier to treat simply because it is easier for a doctor to detect it.

Overtime that involved fewer hours at 41 to 48 per week was associated with a 42-percent greater risk of developing sustained high blood pressure in office workers and a 54-percent greater chance of developing masked hypertension. This elevated risk persisted despite other risk factors for high blood pressure, including smoking, BMI, and more.

The study found a number of work factors that may influence one’s odds of developing masked or sustained high blood pressure, including having low authority in the work place, high demands from superiors, and potentially other daily realities that weren’t identified. The findings were based on a five-year study that took place in three ‘waves,’ according to the American Heart Association.

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