Insomnia, a common sleeping disorder, could increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a new study. Researchers say the chances of developing these cardiovascular issues are especially high for those with a genetic predisposition toward insomnia.
"Chronic insomnia can be a severe detriment to physical, mental, and emotional health by negatively impacting daytime alertness, mood, memory, and cognitive function," according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). Now, a new study links the sleeping disorder to cardiovascular disease.
For the study, a team from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden examined data of close to 1. 3 million people. Some people suffered from cardiovascular disease, while others did not.
To investigate whether people with a genetic variant linked with insomnia are more prone to cardiovascular disease,the team used aresearch technique known as Mendelian.
"Insomnia may lead to increased body weight, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease," study author Susanna Larsson, an associate professor of cardiovascular and nutritional epidemiology at the Karolinska Institutet, told a news portal.
Despite the findings, the team notes that further research needs to be conducted to understand why there is a relationship between the two conditions. It is unclear which condition gives rise to the other. “It’s probably both,” Andrew Stiehm, MD, who specializes in pulmonary and sleep medicine at Allina Health’s United Sleep and Lung Center in St. Paul (US), told a news portal. Adding, "Insomnia does cause you to have higher blood pressure. But heart disease causes insomnia as well."
Health experts urge people to tackle their issues with insomnia before it gest worse or lead to more serious health issues like heart disease. "In general, sleep is good for your body," Joyce Oen-Hsiao, a Yale Medicine cardiologist, told a news portal. Adding, "It helps the body to relax and recover after a hard day. Being able to recharge your body can lead to improvement in metabolism and less stress, which can in turn lead to improved cardiac health."
Deena Kuruvilla, a Yale Medicine neurologist, says there is a strong connection between sleep and cardiovascular health. “Studies show, for example, that non-rapid eye movement sleep decreases arterial blood pressure and heart rate and increases the parasympathetic function of the heart at specific points in the night. Insomnia may in turn affect circadian heart regulation and lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke,” Kuruvilla told a news portal.
The study's findings were originally published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
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