Metabolic disturbances in shift workers

by Karlsson, Berndt

Abstract (Summary)
An increased risk for coronary heart disease among shift workers is earlier shown in the epidemiological literature. The aim of this thesis has been to penetrate metabolic disturbances and obesity among shift workers compared to day workers, and to compare if there are differences in total mortality or cause specific mortality of coronary heart disease (CHD), diabetes or ischaemic stroke in between the two groups. In an intervention study on female nurses (N=11), on night schedules in Umeå hospital, the highest peak value of glucose and insulin after meal ingestion was seen in the late evening (23:30). The post-prandial area under curve (AUC) of glucose and insulin was correspondingly largest after meal ingestion the same clock hour compared to meal ingestion other clock times.In two different cross-sectional studies Västerbotten Inventory Study (VIP) (N= 27,485) and in a subset of Work, Lipids and Fibrinogen Study (WOLF) (N= 1,324) metabolic differences in between shift and day workers has been evaluated. In both studies have obesity, high triglycerides and low HDL-cholesterol been more prevalent among the shift-working group compared to the day-working group. After adjustments for age and socio-economic factors in the VIP-study obesity and high triglycerides remained as risk factors in shift workers in both men and women. After directly age standardisation, a clustering effect, simultaneously, of two or more metabolic risk factors (obesity, hypertension, and high triglycerides) was seen in both genders among the shift workers compared to the day workers. Correspondingly, in the Wolf study low HDL-cholesterol and high triglycerides remained as significant risk factors after adjustments of confounders as age, socio-economic group, physical activity, current smoking, low social support and high job strain. In a cohort study from one company (MoDo) with two plants in the pulp and paper industry 2,354 male shift workers and 3,088 male day workers were followed from January 1, 1952 to December 31, 2001 regarding total and cause specific mortality due to CHD, diabetes and ischaemic stroke. Groups of workers defined by different duration of shift exposure were compared with day workers by calculating standardised relative rates (SRR). No increased risk of total mortality was seen among shift workers compared to day workers. Higher duration of shift work was associated with increased risk for CHD, and shift workers with 30 years or more had the highest risk. Diabetes was more common with increasing number of shift year exposure. Compared to day workers shift workers had also an increased risk to die because of ischaemic stroke, with the highest relative difference in the least shift exposed group (< 5 years).
Bibliographical Information:


School:Umeå universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:shift work; epidemiology; mortality; diabetes; stroke; coronary heart disease; obesity; triglycerides; HDL-cholesterol; insulin; glucose; arbets- och miljömedicin; Occupational and Environmental Medicine


Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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