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Female hospital staff may face increased heart disease risk

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Summary of story from The Daily Mail, October 23, 2011

Women doing shift work in hospitals may be compromising their own health as they look after the health of others, a report has warned.

According to the study, about one in five middle-aged women who do shift work have at least three risk indicators for heart disease.

The health warning applies to all members of staff with rotating shift patterns.

Dr Joan Tranmer, a former nurse who carried out the study, told the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2011 that she was concerned for the health of female hospital workers.

Dr Tranmer studied over 200 women with ages ranging from 22 to 66 (the mean age was 46) from two hospitals in south-eastern Ontario.

Her study investigated correlations between shift work and heart disease risk factors in female hospital employees who worked both shift and non-shift rotations.

The study found that age and current shift work status were significantly associated with increased risk.

Significant risk factors were present in 8% of those working shifts for less than six years but this increased to 18% in those who had been working shifts for six to 15 years.

After 15 years of shift work 74% of those tested were at risk of heart disease.

While the increase in prevalence of risk factors is also associated with age, the influence of the combination of older age and shift work on risk raises concern.

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