Hypertension: Overtime increases the risk of hypertension

Hypertension: Overtime increases the risk of hypertension

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Long working hours: Higher risk of hypertension due to overtime

The increasing workload to which more and more people are exposed puts health at risk. Long working hours are particularly problematic. This is also shown by a study from Canada. The researchers found that working overtime increases the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension).

According to the German Hypertension League, around 20 to 30 million people in Germany have high blood pressure. Known risk factors for hypertension include obesity, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, high alcohol consumption and smoking. And overtime also increases the risk of high blood pressure, as a study has shown.

Minimize known risk factors for high blood pressure

A new study published in the journal "Hypertension" shows that people who work more than 49 hours a week are more at risk of developing high blood pressure.

The observational study cannot "formally" prove a cause-effect relationship, but it was carried out carefully and the result should now be examined prospectively in the opinion of the German Hypertension League.

As the High Pressure League writes in a statement, people who work a lot are advised to take special care to minimize the well-known risk factors for high blood pressure - obesity, lack of exercise and unhealthy nutrition - and to check their blood pressure values ​​at regular intervals.
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The 24-hour blood pressure measurement is more meaningful

Laval University in Quebec researchers found over 3,500 office workers who had been monitored for over five years found that overtime worked to increase the risk of high blood pressure.

The risk of masked hypertension seemed to be increased in those who worked long hours. This is understood to mean if the patient's normal blood pressure values ​​are measured in the doctor's office, or if there are elevated values ​​during the day at work or at night. This form of high blood pressure is particularly dangerous because it is often overlooked.

Stress is generally considered a risk factor for high blood pressure and there have been various scientific studies that investigated the connection between overtime and high blood pressure - but the results were very different.

One of the strengths of the present study is that it not only carried out individual measurements of the blood pressure in the study participants, but also long-term measurements.

"The 24-hour blood pressure measurement is significantly more meaningful than a single blood pressure measurement by the doctor, because it also detects masked hypertension, which in most cases manifests itself in excessively high blood pressure values ​​at night," said Prof. Dr. med. Ulrich Wenzel, specialist in internal medicine and nephrology at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) and chairman of the board of the German high pressure league DHL®.

"The German Hypertension League therefore advocates performing a 24-hour blood pressure measurement on all patients if possible. This is the only way to ensure or exclude the diagnosis of high blood pressure, while individual practice measurements can lead to incorrect assessments."

The masked hypertension cases were overlooked in previous studies

In the present study, the rate of participants with consistently elevated blood pressure values ​​(more than 140/90 mm Hg in the single measurements and over 135/85 mm Hg in the long-term measurements) and those with masked hypertension (more than 140/90 mm Hg in the Individual measurements and over 135/85 mm Hg in the long-term measurements) and related to the overtime worked.

The result showed that overtime was associated with both the risk of masked hypertension and persistent hypertension. Over 49 working hours per week (compared to 35 hours per week) increased the risk of masked hypertension by a factor of 1.7 and that of persistent hypertension by a factor of 1.6.

"This is interesting data," said Wenzel. “Because in studies that had previously shown no connection, no long-term blood pressure measurements were carried out. This suggests that the masked hypertension cases have been overlooked in these studies and underlines again the importance of this form of investigation. ”

Eat healthy and exercise enough

The CEO of the High Pressure League would like to have the actual study result interpreted carefully.

“This is association data, not a randomized study. Possible influencing factors such as socio-demographic and lifestyle characteristics had been removed, but this type of study cannot prove a clear cause-and-effect chain. We hope that randomized trials will now follow for review, ”said Wenzel.

As the expert explained, the study did adjust according to age, body mass index (BMI), nicotine and alcohol consumption, level of education, type of professional activity, physical activity in leisure time as well as subjective workload or “stress” but, for example, did not reveal what the participants ’eating habits were, i.e. whether the group with the long hours worked less healthily due to lack of time, e.g. consumed more fast food that was very salty.

There is also no adjustment with regard to sleep times, because according to observational studies, lack of sleep is also associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure.

As long as the direct influence of overtime on blood pressure has not been proven, Wenzel sees greater prevention potential in addressing the already known and scientifically proven risk factors.

“Obesity is a major problem in our society that drives blood pressure up. If you reduce your body weight to normal values ​​and keep it constant, eat a healthy and low-salt diet and exercise three times a week, you have done a great deal for your health, ”said the doctor.

“In the opinion of the experts, people who (have to) work overtime over a longer period should pay particular attention to these prevention recommendations. "A and O is the regular monitoring of blood pressure values ​​in order to be able to recognize and treat hypertension at an early stage," says Wenzel.

The German Hypertension League offers an online risk calculator on its website that can be used to determine the personal risk of high blood pressure. The factors “job stress” and “exhaustion” are also included. (ad)

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.


  • German high pressure league: overtime increases the risk of high blood pressure, (access: 29.02.2020), German high pressure league
  • German high pressure league: high blood pressure in numbers, (access: 29.02.2020), German high pressure league
  • 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, (published: 19.12.2019), Hypertension
  • German Hypertension League: Hypertension Risk Calculator of DHL, (accessed: February 29, 2020), German Hypertension League

Video: Why does high blood pressure increase risk from COVID-19? (July 2022).


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