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Briefs: Study links long working hours and heart attack risk

TAMPA GENERAL RATED TOPS BY U.S. News

U.S. News & World Report this week named Tampa General Hospital the best in the Tampa Bay metro region for quality of care based on its high marks in six specialty areas (diabetes and endocrinology, geriatrics, heart and heart surgery, kidney disorders, orthopedics, and urology) and its strong performance in other fields. The 988-bed Tampa General is the primary teaching hospital for the University of South Florida medical school. The magazine also recognized Moffitt Cancer Center, Brandon Regional Hospital and Community Hospital in New Port Richey. Editors caution that "the No. 1 hospital in a metro area is not necessarily the best in town for all patients. Other hospitals may outshine it in various specialties."

Long hours may mean heart trouble

People who worked 11 hours or more per day were far more likely to develop heart trouble over a 12-year period, compared with similar subjects who worked seven to eight hours a day, according to a new study published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine. In the early 1990s, British researchers examined 7,095 adults ages 39 to 62, including 2,109 women, and used the information to score each subject's risk for coronary heart disease. About 10 percent reported long workdays. In 12.3 years of followup on average, 29 participants died of heart disease and 163 suffered nonfatal heart attacks. Those who had reported working 11 or more hours a day were 66 percent more likely to have a heart attack or to die of one, the researchers found. Mika Kivimaki, the paper's lead author and a professor of social epidemiology at University College London, said it was not clear whether long working days were causing the increased risk or were simply a marker that could be used to predict risk. But it is possible, he said, that "the chronic experience of stress often associated with working long hours adversely affects metabolic processes," or leads to depression and sleep problems.

Older gays face more health woes

Older lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in California are more likely to suffer from chronic health problems and to live alone, a new analysis has found. The disparities are important to consider as the entire population ages, researchers said. "The gay culture tends to be youth-driven, and the aging community network doesn't usually think about gay and lesbian elders," said Steven P. Wallace, associate director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and lead author of the report. Based on data gathered in 2003, 2005 and 2007 by the center, the brief says older gay and bisexual men — ages 50 to 70 — reported higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and physical disability than similar heterosexual men. Older gay and bisexual men also were 45 percent more likely to report psychological distress. Half of older gay and bisexual men lived alone, compared with 13.4 percent of older heterosexual men. Older lesbian and bisexual women experienced similar rates of diabetes and hypertension compared with straight women, but significantly more physical disabilities and psychological distress. More than one in four lived alone, compared with one in five heterosexual women.

Times staff, wires

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Briefs: Study links long working hours and heart attack risk 04/06/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 5:36pm]
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[DIRK SHADD   |   Times file photo]