Nurses working night shift for years at higher risk of heart disease, study finds

For female registered nurses, working a rotating night shift for five years or longer is associated with a small increase in risk of coronary heart disease, according to a study in JAMA.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston looked at the incidence of coronary heart disease among 189,158 initially healthy women over 24 years in the Nurses' Health Study and Nurses' Health Study II, long-term epidemiological studies conducted on women's health. All total, 10,822 incidents of heart disease occurred, and the analysis found that years of rotating night shift work was associated with a small increase in heart disease risk.

They also found quitting shift work led to a decrease in heart disease risk.

"Further research is needed to explore whether the association is related to specific work hours and individual characteristics," the authors wrote.

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