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Working long hours increases the risk of having a stroke, according the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.

In a new study, researchers received data from a French population-based study group started in 2012 that included 143,592 participants. Of those, 1,224 of them had suffered strokes in their lifetime, and 29 percent, or 42,542 of them, worked long hours.

Of the group that worked longer hours — which the study defined as working more than 10 hours for at least 50 days per year — 29 percent of those people had a greater risk of a stroke, and those that worked long hours for 10 years or more had a 45 percent greater risk of a stroke.

Further, “the association between 10 years of long work hours and stroke seemed stronger for people under the age of 50,” said study author Alexis Descatha, M.D., Ph.D.

42-year-old Jeff Hiserodt, who had been traditionally putting in 60 to 65 hours a week at his market resale business, suffered a massive stroke a year and a half ago, something he never thought could occur, given his age and strong health.

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“I had a blood clot behind my right eye. I was paralyzed on my left side and blind,” he told ABC News.

“The type of work that you do, I’m sure factors into this,” said Dr. Arbi Ohanian, the medical director  of Huntington Hospital’s stroke program. “The type of lifestyle that you have also factors into this.”

However, Ohanian believes that despite the surprising results from the study, people should not begin to panic, specifically those that feel their jobs may be more demanding and stressful.

“Everybody has different social situations,” he explained. “You can’t just tell somebody don’t work because it’s a stressful job, every job is stressful. But if you see it gets to a point where it’s unhealthy, then that’s a different story. You may want to reconsider what you do.”

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Ohanian also explained what people can do to limit their odds for a stroke, even if they endure a long and busy work week.

“Eating healthy, exercising at least 30 minutes a day,” he said. “Making sure any risk factors you have like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, any cardiac issues need to be addressed by your physicians.”

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Having fully recovered from his shocking stroke, Hiserodt now has a different approach to his health.

“I take the time out to go to a nice painting class with my friends at my stroke group,” he said. “I work out. I ride my bike. I changed my whole life. I don’t want to take for granted the second chance that I’ve been given.”

 

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