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Shift Workers Show Rise in Stress Hormone

Shift Workers Show Rise in Stress Hormone

10/10/11

MONDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Shift work or working odd hours can cause changes in stress hormone levels, especially when people start these schedules as young adults, according to a new Dutch study.

Researchers said that increased levels of cortisol, a hormone whose levels rise when people are stressed, could be key to the development of serious health issues, including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

"Our findings show that cortisol might play an important part in the development of obesity and increased cardiovascular risk for those working in shifts," lead author Dr. Laura Manenschijn, at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, said in an Endocrine Society news release. "Unraveling the role of cortisol in the health problems found in shift workers could result in new approaches to prevent cardiovascular damage in this specific group."

In conducting the study, researchers took hair samples from 33 shift workers and 89 daytime workers to measure their cortisol levels.

Researchers found that long-term cortisol levels were significantly higher among shift workers, particularly those younger than 40.

The study was published in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on shift workers' health.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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