Working too much could give you a surprising health condition

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 1:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th October 2019, 3:12 pm

A new study has found that working long hours can trigger the development of a hair loss condition called alopecia.

For four years, researchers from Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, in Seoul, South Korea, examined more than 13,000 men between the ages of 20 and 59, exploring the link between the hours they worked, and the rate of hair loss.

Now academics at Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine have called for laws to “promote appropriate and reasonable working hours.''

Working too many hours takes its toll

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The Korean researchers split the men in their study into three groups based on the number of hours they worked each week.

The routines of those who worked up to 40 hours per week were classified as ‘normal’, up to 52 hours per week were classified as ‘long’, and those who worked more than 52 hours per week were classified as ‘much longer’.

The scientists found that men in their 20s and 30s in the ‘much longer’ group were more likely to develop alopecia than their counterparts who worked fewer hours.

Over the four years of the study, incidences of alopecia increased by two per cent in the ‘normal group’, three per cent in the ‘long group’, and nearly four per cent in the ‘much longer’ group.

The study acknowledged that while the hair loss is not a life-threatening condition, it can have deep and negative psychological effects on sufferers.

It suggested that long working hours “can act both directly as a stressor that increases fatigue” and as an indirect cause of stress “by increasing the time that a worker is exposed to other sources of workplace stress.”

The researchers behind the study insist that lawmakers must intervene “to promote appropriate and reasonable working hours are required in our society.”

What is alopecia?

According to leading hair loss charity Alopecia UK, the condition “typically starts as one or more small, smooth bald patches on the scalp.

In rare cases, the hair loss can continue “until all hair on the scalp is lost (known as Alopecia Totalis) or complete loss of hair from the body (Alopecia Universalis).

“Alopecia does not cause permanent hair loss. The hair follicles are not destroyed and hair does have the possibility to re-grow. It is quite common for people with Alopecia Areata to experience hair loss on and off throughout their life,” explains Alopecia UK