|Insomnia linked to higher heart attack risk|
| [25.10.2011, 06:55am, Tue. GMT]|
|As if you didn’t have enough to worry about during those sleepless nights, a Norwegian study yesterday said that people with insomnia face a 27 to 45 percent higher risk of heart attack. About one-third of people report having trouble sleeping and should see a doctor for help, urged the authors of the study published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.|
“Sleep problems are common and fairly easy to treat,” said Lars Erik Laugsand, lead researcher from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Department of Public Health in Trondheim. “So it’s important that people are aware of this connection between insomnia and heart attack and talk to their doctor if they’re having symptoms.”
The data came from 52,610 Norwegian adults who answered a national survey about their insomnia symptoms in 1995-97.
Over the next 11 years, researchers identified 2,368 people who had their first heart attacks, via hospital records and Norway’s National Cause of Death Registry.
After adjusting for factors such as age, sex, marital status, education level, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, weight, exercise, shift work, depression and anxiety, researchers found the highest boost in risk among the most troubled sleepers.
When they compared data from people who said they usually slept fine to people who said they had trouble falling asleep almost daily over the course of the last month, they saw a 45 percent higher risk in the sleepless group.
Those who said they could fall asleep but not stay asleep all night showed a 30 percent higher risk of heart attack than the group that slept well.
Similar links between insomnia and cardiovascular disease have been suggested in previous studies on US populations.
“It is becoming increasingly evident that insomnia is a significant modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” said Girardin Jean-Louis, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, who was not involved in the study.
The body’s regulatory cycle for sleeping and wakefulness, known as circadian rhythms, could also play a role, according to Edward Fisher, professor of cardiovascular medicine at New York University.