By Dr. Anthony Policastro

A recent study looked at hypertension in a large group of patients. It looked at 12,080 adults. It followed them for 22 years (1989 – 2011).

They were all between 18 and 65 years of age. From that group 830 (6.9 percent) developed hypertension during the study period.

Their goal was to see if there was any relationship between work hours and hypertension. Therefore, they focused on that piece of information.

They also compared them for lifestyle. They looked at socio-demographic factors. They looked at the type of occupation.

Those things were all similar for those who got hypertension and those who did not. Therefore, they did not feel any of them was a major factor in developing hypertension.

It may not have been a big surprise that individuals who worked more than 56 hours per week had a higher incidence of hypertension. There was no difference between incidence of hypertension in males or females.

The relationship occurred in manual workers. The relationship occurred in non-manual workers. Thus the long hours showed no difference regardless of the type of job.

Therefore, if someone works more than 56 hours a week, they have a higher risk of hypertension than someone working 35 to 49 hours per week.

What was a little more surprising was that there was also an increased risk of hypertension among workers who worked 34 hours or less per week.

However, the relationship only showed up in non manual workers. Thus, if someone was a non manual worker and worked for less than 34 hours a week, they had a higher risk for developing hypertension.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2018 that the average U.S. worker between the ages of 25 and 54 worked 40.5 hours per week. That is an average so some work more and some work less.

We all know that there are some people that work more hours than scheduled.

When I was in the Air Force we were required to track our time in different activities. My average week was 64 hours. Night call brought that number up but was not tracked. During wartime exercises, the number of hours would climb to 110 for that week.

I suspect that my hypertension was more related to genetics since everyone in my family has it as well. However, I may not have done myself any favors with those kinds of hours.

There is a lesson to be learned here if you do not yet have hypertension. Make sure you work on keeping your work hours under 56 per week. That is one means of prevention.

COVID-19 Update

The number of new cases continue to decrease nationally. Over the last four weeks we have gone from 475,000 to 415,000 to 367,000 to 296,000. May 10 hit 21,000. That is the lowest single day total since last June.

Sussex County has gone from 343 to 345 to 299 to 230 over that same period. The vaccine is clearly showing the desired effect.

Nationally 46 percent of the population has had the first dose with 34 percent fully immunized. In Delaware 49 percent of the population has had the first dose and 37 percent are fully immunized. 

Since these percentages are of the total population (including children), the percentages for high-risk individuals is much higher.  We will soon be reaching the point where the only ones who will get sick and die from the infection will be non-immunized individuals.

The U.S. death rate continues to drop compared to other countries. That is also related to the speed of the vaccine rollout. We once had the seventh highest death rate in the world. We now are at 16th highest. India will pass us and move us to 17th this week.

The bottom line is that the vaccine is clearly saving lives. Getting a simple shot in your arm can save other human lives. Vaccinated individuals are clearly pro-life.

COVID vaccine clinic

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Seaford will be holding a COVID vaccine clinic in conjunction with TidalHealth. It will take place on Sunday, May 23, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

For further information or to register for the event call 410-912-6968.