Insomnia increases the risk of stroke, according to study
According to a study, insomnia increases the risk of stroke and heart attack. Researchers in Taiwan have found that sleep disorders can lead to serious health problems. The study, led by Dr. Chien-Yi Hsu at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital, found that people who have insomnia have an increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke.
It seems that, compared to people who sleep well, people with insomnia have a higher risk of developing stroke or heart attack. Dr. Gregg Fonarow, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles, added that factors such as stress or diabetes that cause insomnia can affect health. He said that there are studies showing that circadian rhythms are correlated with insulin sensitivity, that is with metabolic changes.
That sleep has serious implications on health is not new thing. We already know that sleep disorders can lead to hypertension, obesity, diabetes, depression, lack of attention and concentration during the day. On the other hand there are many diseases that can cause insomnia, such as thyroid disease (hyperthyroidism), anxiety, chronic pain, and others.
To conduct the study, researchers used nationwide database heath from which they excluded people with depression, anxiety, sleep apnea, seizures, etc.. Finally there were analyzed 11,000 people aged 45 or older who suffered from insomnia, and more than 32,000 people who have not had trouble sleeping.
Participants were followed for 4 years and it was found that 1.6% of those who had insomnia had a heart attack. Of those who did not have trouble sleeping, only 0.76% had heart attack. Regarding stroke, the percentages were higher. It was found that over 11% of those with insomnia had stroke while only 6.5% of those who slept well had stroke.
Although the link between insomnia and cardiovascular accidents is obvious, scientists believe that clinicians should not aggressively treat insomnia. Fonarow said it is too early to say that the treatment of insomnia would decrease the incidence of these accidents (stroke and myocardial infarction).
In addition, the study did not show what kind of insomnia participants had. Dr. Aparajitha Verma, medical director of the Comprehensive Sleep Disorders Program Methodist Hospital in Houston, says it is essential to know the type of insomnia in order to make correlations with cardiovascular disease. Insomnia can manifest in several ways: fragmented sleep, difficulty in inducing sleep, insufficient number of hours of sleep etc. It is however highly recommended to rest at least 6-7 hours per night.