Hypertension: high blood pressure due to long working hours and overtime

Hypertension: high blood pressure due to long working hours and overtime

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Long office hours increase the risk of high blood pressure

If office workers work long hours, a recent study increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, including masked hypertension, which often goes undetected during routine medical checkups.

The latest study by Laval University in Quebec found that long hours in the office are associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Hypertension".

Hypertension risk should not be underestimated

Long hours in the office are more likely for employees to have high blood pressure. Hypertension affects almost half of Americans from the age of 18. Hypertension can lead to the death of the affected person.

What is masked hypertension?

About 15 to 30 percent of adults in the United States suffer from a type of disorder called masked hypertension. This means that their hypertension levels are normal during visits to clinics and surgeries, but there are elevated levels when blood pressure is measured elsewhere.

More than 3,500 employees participated in the study

The new study, which was carried out by a Canadian research team, involved more than 3,500 employees from three public institutions in Quebec. Compared to people who worked less than 35 hours a week, working 49 or more hours a week was 70 percent more likely to have hidden hypertension and 66 percent more likely to get blood pressure in and are permanently increased outside of the clinical environment.

How did working hours between 41 and 48 hours affect?

Work between 41 and 48 hours a week was associated with a 54 percent higher chance of masked hypertension and a 42 percent higher chance of persistent hypertension compared to people working less than 35 hours. The results also took into account variables such as workload, age, gender, level of education, occupation, smoking status, body mass index and other health factors.

Hypertension favors cardiovascular diseases

"Both masked and persistent hypertension are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases," says study author Dr. Xavier Trudel from Laval University in Quebec, Canada in a press release.

Risk was about the same for men and women

Overall, almost 19 percent of working people had high blood pressure, including people who were already taking medication for high blood pressure. More than 13 percent of the participants suffered from masked high blood pressure and were not treated for high blood pressure. The relationship between long working hours and high blood pressure was about the same for men and women in the study.

Limitations of the study

The study did not include people who are paid hourly and who do manual labor in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, mining, maintenance, or hospitality. Therefore, the results may not reflect the impact on blood pressure from shift work or positions with higher physical demands.

Weaknesses and strengths of the study

Another limitation of the study was that blood pressure was measured only during the day. In addition, additional hours worked outside of the primary workplace were not taken into account. However, the study also had many strengths, such as considering many factors that can affect blood pressure, repeated tests over several years, and the use of portable measuring devices.

Long working hours affect heart health

"People should be aware that working long hours can affect their heart health, and if they work long hours, they should ask their doctor if they can monitor their blood pressure over a long period of time with a portable meter," explains Dr. Trudel.

Masked hypertension delays the diagnosis

Masked hypertension can affect someone over a long period of time and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases in the long term. It has been shown that over one year, approximately one in five people with masked hypertension never had high blood pressure in a clinical setting, which may delay diagnosis and treatment. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Long work hours at the office linked to both regular and hidden high blood pressure, American Heart Association (query: 19.12.2019), American Heart Association
  • Xavier Trudel, Chantal Brisson, Mahée Gilbert-Ouimet, Michel Vézina, Denis Talbot, Alain Milot: Long Working Hours and the Prevalence of Masked and Sustained Hypertension, in Hypertension (query: 19.12.2019), Hypertension

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