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Category: Hormones and Metabolism
Individuals who do shift work may benefit from cortisol testing, as new research suggests that working overnight even for relatively short amounts of time in early adulthood may lead to long-term elevation of the stress hormone.
Previous studies have concluded that chronically high cortisol is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, shift work has been associated with higher body mass index and an increased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic conditions. The researchers said their findings may tie these two associations together.
"Our findings show that cortisol might play an important part in the development of obesity and increased cardiovascular risk for those working in shifts," said Laura Manenschijn, MD, who led the study. "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."
For the study, the team analyzed hair samples from 33 shift workers and 89 day workers. The results showed that cortisol levels were significantly higher among most of the participants who worked overnight shifts.
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