Burning the Candle at Both Ends: Why You’ve Got High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease

In today’s fast-paced and nonstop world, people everywhere tend to think less and less of the importance of taking care of themselves. After all, we’ve only got one life that needs to be lived to it’s fullest. However, while that may sound like a good idea, the reality is, failing to be concerned about the life you’re living can often lead to serious health issues like high blood pressure and heart disease. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to take a step back and look closely at the toll a 24/7 lifestyle is taking on your body.

Workplace Stress

Perhaps nothing can do more to cause high blood pressure and heart disease than stress on the job. Rather than working smarter in today’s world, most people are in fact working harder. Vacations are falling by the wayside, workdays are growing longer and employers are expecting more from employees as workforces continue to shrink. According to research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, a study conducted on employees who worked 50 or more hours per week found them to be at twice the risk of developing coronary issues than those who worked 40 or fewer hours per week. There were several reasons for this, including:

  • Decreased activity level
  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor eating habits
  • Increased use of alcohol and tobacco products

Researchers found as employees worked longer hours, they began to rely on alcohol and tobacco products to keep them feeling relaxed both on and off the job. Those workers who smoked at least one cigarette per day during their shifts were found to have blood pressure readings increase by 10-20 percent, while those who had at least two alcoholic drinks after work had increases of up to 10 percent as well.

Energy Drinks: Buyer Beware

Over the past two decades, energy drinks have exploded onto the consumer market. While their names imply those who drink them can be invincible, the truth is most people are anything but that. Just as Superman had kryptonite, more and more people are finding burning the candle at both ends is having dire consequences on their hearts. Because the drinks are geared toward younger buyers, hospitals and emergency rooms are seeing more and more people experiencing high blood pressure and cardiovascular issues. Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have recently discovered that carnitine, a heart supplement added to many popular energy drinks, may actually not have much of a benefit. A study of data from 2,600 patients who were being tested for cardiovascular damage due to energy drink consumption found that stomach bacteria responsible for breaking down compounds actually converts carnitine into a compound that promotes atherosclerosis, also known as hardening and clogging of the arteries.

By following these guidelines and listening to what your body is always telling you, high blood pressure and other coronary problems can get kicked to the curb.