Researchers in the Netherlands have determined that shift workers are at greater risk of abnormal heart rhythms or premature ventricular complexes, which might explain why night shift workers have higher rates of heart disease,
Dr. Ludovic van Amelsvoort, who led the research team from Maastricht University, said working the night shift throws off the body’s circadian rhythms, putting it under stress and making it more susceptible to heart problems.
"It might be that working at night acts as a chronic stressor,” said van Amelsvoort. "The increase in frequency of premature ventricular beats should be regarded as a potentially important factor in the relation between shift work and the increased cardiovascular risk of disease."
The researchers measured variations and changes in the heartbeat and heart rate of shift workers and workers who worked the day shift. Although the researchers found that there were unfavorable changes for both groups, the negative change for shift workers was nearly twice that of workers on the day shift.