Does working long hours increase your risk of Coronary Heart Disease?

I deal with working long hours on a consistent basis.  Balancing long work hours with my personal life is something that I struggle with all the time.  We all want to earn more money to provide our families with the best kind of life we can give to them.  The problem for me is that I also know that working long hours can also impact my health.  According to a study done by the College of Medicine at Seoul National University in South Korea, working long hours has negative effects on health.  These negative effects include high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep issues and psychological issues.

The study was published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine and revealed that working over 60 hours a week increased the chances of coronary heart disease by 42%.  Working hours like I do it’s hard to even think about what I should be eating.  When I work this hard all I typically want to do is fill my stomach with whatever I can find that might remotely taste ok in a hospital or clinic setting.  This hurry up and eat method doesn’t allow myself to really make good food choices.  I might end up eating chili cheese fries or the deep fried fish sandwich.

A few months ago I began to evaluate what I wanted from my career and how I was going to take care of my health as I navigate through the challenges of balancing home life with career.  Below I have listed what the changes I decided to make that are helping me to not feel overworked or stressed out about the amount of long hours I am working.  Now I am not saying that these changes can work for you, I am only sharing with you what worked for me.

  1. What do I really want from my career?

There were specific reasons I decided to become a medical doctor in the first place.  I wanted to be a doctor for the simple reason of wanting to help people heal from whatever sickness or disease they were dealing with, but also do it in a compassionate manner.  For me this meant opening up a clinic like Mandala.  I really wanted to practice medicine in a way that meant focusing on my patients and Mandala definitely allows me to handle each and every patient that way.  This has given my career the purpose that had been sorely lacking all these years.

  1. I Plan ahead.

When I work in a hospital now a days, I try to plan what types of foods I should eat when I work long hours there.  I try to make healthier choices rather than just focusing on trying to fill my stomach with something that will simply taste good right now.  This is a challenge, but I have indeed made it something that I strive to do better at.

  1. Make the most of the time I have available

I make time to exercise, it just something that I feel that needs to be done.  I usually go out jogging or bike riding and when I do, I usually take my daughter and son with me.  My kids do sometimes distract me or take me away from my exercise regimen, but I prefer to kill two birds with one stone and jogging with my kids allows me to do just that.

How do you balance work and home life?  Let me know if you have any comments or suggestions.  The things I listed above were just some of the things I do to balance my home and work life and also maintain my health.  If you would like some advice on managing your stress or your health please do not hesitate to call my office for an appointment with me.

 

Dr. Shah, MD