People with insomnia have an increased risk of heart failure
According to a study published in the European Heart Journal, individuals who suffer from insomnia have a higher risk of developing heart failure. It should be noted that the study is the largest of its kind and was conducted on 54,279 people who were followed for 11 years. It seems that those who have 3 symptoms of insomnia have a three times higher risk of developing heart failure than those without sleep problems.
Dr Lars Laugsand, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Public Health, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, said that the three symptoms related to insomnia are trouble in falling asleep, difficulties in maintaining sleep and not feeling refresh in the morning. It seems that those who have all three symptoms have a significantly increased risk of heart failure.
Dr. Laugsand wanted to mention that even though there was discovered this connection between insomnia and heart failure, this does not necessarily mean that the relationship is causal. He says it is not know if heart failure is caused by insomnia, but if it so, insomnia is a treatable condition. Those who have trouble sleeping may use various strategies such as psycho-behavioral or psychological therapies or simply reconsider sleep hygiene. In addition, investigation of sleep problems can provide useful information in preventing heart failure. However, to see if insomnia is indeed a cause of heart failure, further studies are needed to confirm this. Dr. Laugsand said that there may be a biological cause for insomnia as stress activates mechanisms that affect heart function.
Researchers recruited both men and women (aged between 20-89 years) between 1995 – 1997, without heart failure, which were followed for 11 years, that is by 2008. Of the 54,279 participants, there were found 1412 cases of heart failure during the study. At enrollment, participants completed questionnaires regarding their sleep during the night: if they sleep well, if they have trouble staying asleep or if they feel tired in the morning.
After analyzing the survey results, the researchers concluded that those who had trouble sleeping more than once a week had a higher risk of heart failure compared with those who had no symptoms at all. It seems that as the frequency of these symptoms is higher, the risk of heart failure was even greater. “However, the risk among those with all the three insomnia symptoms simultaneously was particularly high even after adjustment for established cardiovascular risk factors and psychological distress”, Dr. Laugsand said.