Common sleep problem linked to higher heart attack risk

Credit: Lukas Blazek/ Unsplash.

In a study from Alexandria University in Egypt, scientists found people who suffer from insomnia were 69% more likely to have a heart attack compared to those who didn’t have the sleep disorder.

In addition, the researchers found that people who clocked five or fewer hours of sleep a night had the greatest risk of experiencing a heart attack.

People with both diabetes and insomnia had a twofold likelihood of having a heart attack.

The study showed that people with insomnia are more likely to have a heart attack regardless of age, and heart attacks occurred more often in women with insomnia.

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, but in many ways it’s no longer just an illness, it’s more of a life choice.

Insomnia may include trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or getting good quality sleep. Growing in prevalence, insomnia is estimated to affect 10% to 30% of American adults, affecting women more than men.

In the study, the team reviewed nine studies involving 1,184,256 adults (43% of whom were women).

The average age was 52 years and 13% (153,881) had insomnia, which was defined based on ICD diagnostic codes or by the presence of any of these three symptoms: difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep or waking early and not being able to get back to sleep.

Heart attacks occurred in 2,406 of those who had insomnia and 12,398 of those in the non-insomnia group.

The team found a strong association between insomnia and having a heart attack.

This association between insomnia and heart attack remained strong across all subgroups of patients, including younger and older age (<65 and >65), follow-up duration (more or less than five years), men and women, and common comorbidities (diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol).

Moreover, people who reported five or fewer hours of sleep a night were 1.38 and 1.56 times more likely to experience a heart attack compared with those who slept six and seven to eight hours a night, respectively.

People who slept six hours had a lower risk of heart attack compared with those who slept nine hours.

Trouble falling or staying asleep was also tied to a 13% increased likelihood of heart attack compared with people without these symptoms.

Based on the findings, the team it is important that people prioritize sleep so they get seven to eight hours of quality sleep a night.

If you care about sleep, please read studies about painkillers that could harm your sleep, and heavy blankets could harm sleep.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that Vitamin D deficiency can increase heart disease risk, and results showing that yogurt may help lower the death risks in heart disease.

The study was conducted by Yomna E. Dean et al and presented at the Annual Scientific Session Together With the World Congress of Cardiology.

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