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Does work stress and lack of sleep cause health risks?

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Posted on Tue, 15 Jul 2014
Question: I am nearing 66 years old and am being treated for hypertension and have in the past year been to emergency rooms twice with strong atypical chest pains. I am also being treated for depression. Is being forced to work 14 to 16 hour shifts consecutively or several times a week, in a highly stressful environment, that only allows to 3 to 4 hours of sleep in between, a risk to my health?
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Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger (22 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Yes. Your health is at risk.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thank you for using Healthcare Magic. The conditions of your work that you describe are definitely a risk to your physical and mental well being. There is ample evidence that working long hours with inadequate time for rest and recuperation leads to increase rates of ill health. In addition, the performance of work-related tasks such as decision making is impaired.
As you already have depression and hypertension, this would put you at an increased risk of suffering ill health if these are your on- going working conditions.
I hope this is of help to you. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Regards,
Dr K A Pottinger,
MBChB. FRCA
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Kerry Pottinger (3 minutes later)
What ill health issues might I be at risk for?
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Answered by Dr. Kerry Pottinger (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Various problems.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Thank you for the further question. The long hours without adequate sleep may lead to stress- related problems such as sleeping problems, sweating, loss of apetite and difficulty in concentrating. You may also suffer headaches and muscle tension. There is an increased incidence of alcohol dependence in people who suffer work- related stress. The body's endorphins may increase and these can cause stress on the heart with an increase risk of heart attacks and strokes if the worst case scenario occurs. However, I am not suggesting that you will suffer these problems.
I hope this answers your question.
Regards,
Dr K A Pottinger
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Kerry Pottinger

Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist

Practicing since :1983

Answered : 1337 Questions

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Does work stress and lack of sleep cause health risks?

Brief Answer: Yes. Your health is at risk. Detailed Answer: Hi, Thank you for using Healthcare Magic. The conditions of your work that you describe are definitely a risk to your physical and mental well being. There is ample evidence that working long hours with inadequate time for rest and recuperation leads to increase rates of ill health. In addition, the performance of work-related tasks such as decision making is impaired. As you already have depression and hypertension, this would put you at an increased risk of suffering ill health if these are your on- going working conditions. I hope this is of help to you. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Regards, Dr K A Pottinger, MBChB. FRCA