Feb 2020

Long, hard work hours may be linked to high blood pressure

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorney

If your job requires you to work long hours, exert physical energy, or both, you could be at risk of high blood pressure. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke, if ignored.

Roughly half of American adults experience high blood pressure (hypertension), which results in more than 82,000 deaths each year. About 15-30 percent of American adults have masked hypertension, an overlooked form of high blood pressure. Their blood pressure readings may appear normal during a routine health care visit, but may appear higher when checked somewhere else.

How many hours of work are linked to high blood pressure?

A recent study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension found a link between long work hours and masked hypertension. For example, employees who work 49 or more hours per week are:

  • 70 percent more likely to develop masked hypertension than those who don’t
  • 66 percent more likely to have sustained hypertension-elevated blood pressure readings

The likelihood of developing hypertension reduces with fewer hours worked. For example, employees who work 41-48 hours per week are:

  • 54 percent more likely to develop masked hypertension than those who don’t
  • 42 percent more likely to develop sustained hypertension

The study also factored in job strain, age, gender, level of education, occupation, smoking status, body mass index, and other factors.

According to the study authors, nearly 19 percent of participants in the study had hypertension, some of which were already being treated with medication for high blood pressure. More than 13 percent of workers had masked hypertension, and therefore, were not being treated for it.

Can I collect workers’ compensation for my heart attack?

Heart attacks and other medical events related to high blood pressure aren’t often regarded as work-related injuries. The stress of high job demands and long hours, however, can significantly increase the risk of a heart attack.

According to the American Heart Association, it may take two weeks to three months before a heart attack patient can return to work. Treatment may include chest X-rays, medications, and possibly surgery. The average cost of heart attack treatment is $18,200. The cost could be higher depending on the seriousness of your condition.

The biggest challenge many workers who suffer heart attacks face is proving that their medical event was work-related. That’s why it’s absolutely critical that you consult with an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney if this has happened to you.

The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl has helped injured workers obtain workers’ compensation benefits for about four decades now. We serve clients in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.

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