Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Risks: Chronic Insomnia Raises Threat to Heart

Chronic insomnia may increase the risk of heart attack, according to a large new study.

Norwegian researchers had more than 52,610 men and women fill out health questionnaires that asked, among many other questions, how often they had difficulty falling asleep, how often they woke up and were unable to go back to sleep, and how often they awoke with a feeling that they had slept poorly. Then they followed the subjects for more than 11 years.

After adjusting for numerous health and lifestyle factors, they found that compared with people who never had sleep problems, those who had trouble falling asleep had a 45 percent increased relative risk of heart attack. People with problems staying asleep had a 30 percent increased risk, and those who woke up tired a 27 percent increase.

The results were similar even among those who were free of all chronic disorders at the start of the study. The researchers did not control for sleep apnea, known to be associated with cardiovascular illness, but they did control for body mass index and blood pressure, two factors highly correlated with that disorder.

“This is just one study,” said the report’s lead author, Dr. Lars E. Laugsand of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, “and more are needed to try to explain the mechanisms behind these associations, which are unclear.”

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/health/research/chronic-insomnia-raises-heart-attack-threat-study-says.html?_r=1

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