Today’s job requires working long hours, often stretching into late nights. Several jobs also require doing night shift duties. With increased internet connectivity, there is a boon to communication. However, it has also blurred the boundaries of “work time” and “leisure time”. It is common to see people bringing work to home. At home, instead of relaxing, they remain busy on “business calls” on their smartphones, or work on “projects” on their laptops. While all these long and unearthly hours of work have increased their productivity making these employees “valuable assets” to the company; it has also taken a big toll on their health.

A recent study, published in NEUROLOGY Journal (Nov 2015) has shown a significantly higher risk of brain stroke in people with high strain jobs. The risk was higher for ischemic stroke (where the blood supply to a part of brain gets blocked), resulting in paralysis, impaired speech, blindness, and so on. The risk of brain stroke due to high strain jobs was found to be higher in women as compared to men.

Several reasons may be involved in increasing the risk of brain stroke in high strain jobs:
1. Work strain may lead to unhealthy lifestyles such as increased smoking, reduced physical activity, unhealthy eating habits, untimely meals, reduced sleep, lack of health check ups, etc. All of them are risk factors for stroke.
2. Work stress is often associated with certain cardiovascular risk factors, such as metabolic syndrome, high body mass index (obesity), impaired glucose metabolism (diabetes), and dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), which are also known to be risk factors for stroke.
3. Work stress can also lead to neuro-endocrine disturbances, leading to increased inflammation and plaque destabilization, leading to ischemic brain stroke.

Therefore, one needs to maintain a good work-leisure balance. Maintaining good work out put and efficiency are important, however, it should not be at the cost of strain and stress.
1. Working hours should be restricted to 8-10 hours per day.
2. Work should not be brought home.
3. There should be adequate time left (after work) to spend with family; and exercise on a regular basis.
4. Smartphones and laptops should be in silent mode during sleep, so that sleep is not disturbed.
5. Avoid night shift duties as much as possible.
6. Avoid excess travel, as it leads to disturbed sleep rhythm, as well as increased strain.
7. Periodic breaks and vacations with family are advisable, to get relaxed and recharged.
DR SUDHIR KUMAR MD (Medicine) DM (Neurology)
Senior Consultant Neurologist
Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad
Phone: 040-23607777/60601066
Online Consultation:
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