People suffering from insomnia may have an increased risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke, according to new research in the Circulation magazine of the American Heart Association.
The researchers found that genetic variants for insomnia were associated with significantly higher probabilities of coronary artery disease, heart failure and ischemic stroke, particularly large artery stroke, but not atrial fibrillation.
“It is important to identify the underlying reason for insomnia and treat it,” Larsson said. “Sleep is a behavior that can be changed by new habits and stress management.”
Insomnia can lead to serious cardiovascular diseases
A limitation of this study is that the results represent a genetic variant link to insomnia rather than insomnia itself. According to Larsson, it was not possible to determine whether people with cardiovascular disease had insomnia or not.
People were followed for an average of approximately 10 years. During that time, there were 130,032 cases of stroke, heart attack, and other similar diseases. People who had all three insomnia symptoms were 18 percent more likely to develop these diseases than people who had no symptoms.
The researchers adjusted other factors that could affect the risk of stroke or heart disease, including alcohol consumption, smoking and the level of physical activity. People who had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep were 9 percent more likely to develop strokes or heart disease than people who did not have this problem.
Of the 55,127 people who had this symptom, 17,650, or 32 percent, had a stroke or heart disease, compared with 112,382, or 26 percent, of the 432,073 people who did not have this insomnia symptom.
People who woke up too early in the morning and couldn’t go back to sleep were 7 percent more likely to develop these diseases than people who didn’t have that problem. And people who reported that they had trouble staying focused during the day due to lack of sleep were 13 percent more likely to develop these diseases than people who didn’t have that symptom.
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