Nightly News   |  January 29, 2014

Binge Working Increases Risk of Heart Attack

Data show one-third of heart disease is related to stress and chronic overworking can double that risk.

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>>> if you're old enough you remember a day when after work you go home from work and maybe once every six months you would get an after-hours call from work. but for the most part you didn't think about work until it was time to go back to work the next day. well, not anymore. now, work is in your hand, on the screen, staring you in the face and expects an answer at night at 11 p.m ., when of course you're expected to be plugged in, and available. if you think this kind of thing can't be good for your health, you're right. tom costello has more.

>> reporter: so many of us today seem to be in overdrive. anne baldwin owning a crisis firm, every day, it seems is a crisis.

>> and we'll probably work until 9:00.

>> this is not the candy busine business, everything is not always sweet, it is not always 9 to 5 , sunday through sunday.

>> reporter: years past, americans worked eight hours a day and then called it quits, home with the family. but in today's 24/7 world, they are expected to answer calls and e-mails in the dead of night , on weekends, even while on vacation. technology reporter bob sullivan writes about america's changing work habits.

>> it took about 40 years for americans to get us a 40-hour work week, and smartphones five years to take them away.

>> reporter: also, family meals, kids' sports events and simple down time, working so many hours means that americans work five additional hours each year than they did in 1979 . 30% of americans now work on weekends and are sleeping less. according to the sirds, a third of adults get six hours or less of sleep each night. the long hours and lack of sleep can land you in the er, a study shows people working 60 hours or more could be at greater risk to have a heart attack .

>> reporter: dr. allen taylor is the chief of heart surgery .

>> it adds up to implications for heart disease .

>> reporter: stress experts say it has never been more important to set limits, deciding when to turn off the e-mail and cell phone to carve out personal time . for some, the more work, the better.

>> the harder i work the more fun i seem to have.

>> reporter: but for many, finding the balance between work and life is also a matter of health. tom costello, nbc news, washington.