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Working Overtime Could Increase Risk for Heart Disease, Researchers Say

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Researchers at University College London report that long work days could increase the likelihood of developing heart disease.

The study, to be published in the April 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at almost 7,100 low-risk British civil servants between 1991 and 2004, screening out individuals who showed signs of heart disease. Researchers found that the employees who worked 11-hour days or longer on a consistent basis were 67 percent more likely to develop coronary illnesses than those who worked only seven or eight hours.

Still, the study authors noted that other factors were considered in their analysis such as age, cholesterol levels and whether or not a patient smokes. A direct cause-and-effect relationship between long working hours and heart disease could not be confirmed.

But while changes to patient care may be unnecessary at this time, the study's investigators suggest adding questions about working hours to physical exams if further research supports their findings.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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