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Insomnia May Increase Stroke Risk

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If you have trouble sleeping for a long time already, you may have insomnia. But are you aware that insomnia can increase stroke risk? Read on.

What is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a medical condition wherein there is difficulty in initiating or maintaining sleep despite the person having adequate time for sleeping. This decrease or loss of sleep can bring about impairment in daytime functioning. Insomnia may be due to decreased quantity or poor quality of sleep.

Insomnia is fairly a common problem and occurs in about half of the general population. About 10 percent of these patients may experience long-standing insomnia. Insomnia often increases with age and is more common in adults than in children. Women are commonly affected more than men.

There are three types of insomnia. Transient insomnia is insomnia that lasts for one week or less. Short term insomnia is insomnia that lasts for more than a week to three weeks. Long term insomnia or chronic insomnia often lasts for more than three weeks. Insomnia can also be classified according to its causes such as medical conditions, sleep disorders, sleep habits and stress.

Insomnia is different from short duration sleep and sleep deprivation. Short duration sleep is normal for people who require less sleep to make them function normally during the day. Sleep deprivation is lack of sleep that is due to lack of opportunity for sleeping due to intentional or accidental reasons. On the other hand, insomnia happens even when there is adequate =time and opportunity for sleeping.

There are many causes of insomnia. Stress and several situational factors can cause insomnia, such as jet lag, physical discomfort, noise, too warm or too cold surroundings, unfamiliar surroundings, working different shifts, stresses from home or work, illicit drug use, cigarette smoking, caffeine intake during bedtime, alcohol intoxication, alcohol withdrawal and certain medications. Oftentimes insomnia due to these factors can be corrected.

Sleep hygiene can also cause insomnia. Poor sleep hygiene can be due to many reasons such as suing the bedroom for other purposes other than sleeping, exercising before sleep, eating before sleep, being hungry during bedtime, sleeping in a bedroom which has too much light or noise, and doing work in bed.

There are certain medical or psychiatric conditions which can bring about insomnia. These medical conditions may include breathing problems, heart disease, lung disease, congestive heart failure, obesity, gastric reflux, hyperthyroidism, urinary problems, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Psychiatric problems that can bring about insomnia include depression, mania, psychosis, anxiety or    posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Insomnia can also be due to menopause, changes in the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, fever and pain.

Insomnia and Stroke

A recent study has shown that the risk of stroke is higher in people who have insomnia compared to those who do not have this sleep disorder. The findings of this study are published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke. The researchers also found out that the risk for stroke may be greater when insomnia occurs as a young adult. The researchers utilized data from the randomly-selected health records of more than 21,000 people with insomnia and 64,000 non-insomniacs in Taiwan.

The researchers also found out that insomnia raised the likelihood of hospitalization for stroke by 54 percent. Stroke risk was also eight times higher in those diagnosed with insomnia between 18-34 years old. Beyond age 35, the risk continually decreased. Diabetes may also increase the risk of stroke in those with insomnia.

To know more about insomnia, feel free to read our other articles on this site.