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Can too much work kill me?

If you are working extremely long hours to get ahead or just to keep up in a troubled economy, the lack of balance between work and life may prove deadly. In Japan, where unpaid overtime and long hours are the norm, there is a legal cause of death called karoshi, which means death by overwork.

Karoshi was deemed to be responsible for 143 deaths in 2001. At least one doctor has argued that karoshi occurs not only because of long hours, but also because of the stress that is created by years of hard work coupled with a sense of feeling powerless and trapped.

Even if you are not working at that extreme, stress will take a toll on your body. Experts estimate that stressed workers ring up health care costs that are 46 percent higher than workers without stress.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.