The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published an article about new research tracking the association between night shift work and heart disease. Denver workers’ compensation attorneys and Greeley workers’ compensation lawyers generally work with people who suffer sudden injuries, where a process that worked for years suddenly goes wrong. Sometimes, lax employer standards or industry standards are at fault.
Construction cases, factory cases, and even driving cases are normal for the workers’ compensation lawyers that call Colorado home. However, while many workers know that sudden injuries aren’t the only risks they face in the workplace, not much substantial research had been done prior to this study’s publication. Many women take on rotating night shift work as nurses in the medical field.
Hospitals and clinics are open late because accidents don’t have a limited time frame. Many hospitals or clinics that aren’t open 24-hours risk patients seeking care elsewhere simply because of convenience. This means there is a huge demand for a workforce that by nature has flexible, long hours. Many nurses work through the night certain days then the day shift different days of the week, which alters sleep schedules and leads to a general confusion for the body. With more research being done about the real importance of sleep—and it is vital for a healthy lifestyle—Greeley workers’ compensation lawyers must answer more questions about long-term illness as a result of work history than ever.
This research was done on rotating night shift work, which means 3 or more night shifts per month plus day and evening shifts, and started in 1988. This research tracked by questionnaire how many rotating night shifts were worked by each participant as well as doctor-diagnosed events that qualify for coronary heart disease. The study allowed for variables such as diet and physical activity because poor nutrition and lack of physical exercise are also strongly linked to heart disease. The study also allowed for age variance because as we age, our bodies naturally become more susceptible to heart disease and related episodes. These data were weighed against women in the same approximate age ranges, activity levels, who made similar nutritional choices, but had no history of night shift work.
The study also looked at family history of heart problems, cigarette and alcohol intake, race, and vitamin use, among other factors. This study was done over 24 years and excluded women who did not answer questions for 2 consecutive cycles. Generally, the study found that younger women with lower alcoholic consumption and less smoking had fewer cardiac episodes and took less medications and vitamins. However, as night shift work went up, so did cardiac episodes, even in the relatively young and healthy women. In fact, across the board, night shift work had a general positive statistically-significant correlation with heart disease over time.
Any nurse who works rotating night and day shifts could tell you that rotating shifts are exhausting and difficult to recover from. No one ever claimed it was healthy. However, the more studies that are done about potential health risks of particular medical fields, the more likely it is that long-term conditions like heart disease as a result of rotating shift work will become recognizable in the eyes of the law. Like lung trouble and mine work, there may come a day heart disease and rotating shift work for women become obviously linked and women who experience symptoms brought on by their work can get the medical treatment they need for work-related illnesses. The law constantly changes as new science emerges about the dangers of particular workplaces. However, as Denver workers’ compensation lawyers argue every day, workers who become sick as a result of work conditions should receive compensation. It’s only fair.
Workers’ Compensation can be difficult, confusing, and very complex. Kaplan Morrell has helped thousands of injured workers since 1997 get the benefits they deserve. Contact us here or call us at 303-780-7329 for your free consultation.