Night Shift Work Is Not Heart Healthy, Study Finds

A new study has identified an increased risk of lung cancer and heart disease in night shift workers, adding to the growing knowledge of health risks associated with those jobs.

Working rotating night shifts may pose a threat to your health, a new study suggests.

The study defined rotating shift work as at least 3 nights spent working each month, in addition to days and evenings worked in the month.In the new study, researchers led by Eva Schernhammer, MD, DrPH, of Harvard Medical School tracked 22 years of data from about 75,000 nurses across the United States. While the study couldn't prove cause-and-effect, it found that people who worked rotating night shifts for more than 5 years had an 11% increased risk of death from all causes. The risk of death from heart disease was 19% higher among those who worked such shifts for 6 to 14 years, and 23% higher for those who worked such shifts for 15 or more years, Dr Schernhammer's group found. Nurses who worked rotating night shifts for 15 or more years also had a 25% higher risk of death from lung cancer, according to the study.

American Journal of Preventive Medicine

The findings are to be published in the March issue of the .

Read the article on MedlinePlus

Night shift workers have previously been shown to be at a greater risk for developing diabetes.