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Long work days are bad for the heart

It may be time to add a long workday to the list of risk factors for heart disease.

A new study found that office workers significantly increased their chances of having a heart attack by working extra hours.

The study, by researchers at University College London, found that employees who regularly worked 11-hour days or longer were 67 percent more likely to develop heart disease than those who worked seven- or eight-hour days.

One U.S. expert said many factors could account for the rise in risk among those tied too long to the office. "Those working long hours may have less time for exercise, healthy eating and physicians visits," said Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, associate chief of cardiology at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine. "They may be exposed to more stress, get less sleep and engage in other behaviors which contribute to cardiovascular risk."

The study, published in the April 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, followed a low-risk population of almost 7,100 British civil servants from 1991 until 2004, screening out those with signs of heart disease.

Other research has shown that workers who have little sense of control over their work have a higher risk of heart disease.

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