Men who sleep poorly appear to have an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to a new study presented at EuroHeartCare 2015. The underlying factor may be sleep disorders, which have been linked to poor cardiovascular health.
For the study, researchers asked 657 Russian men aged 25 to 64 years with no history of heart attack, stroke, or diabetes about their sleep quality. Poor ratings were considered an indication of a sleep disorder. Over the next 14 years, investigators recorded cases of myocardial infarction and stroke among the men.
Remarkably, 63% of men who had a heart attack had symptoms of a sleep disorder. They had more than double the risk of myocardial infarction and up to 4 times higher the risk of stroke than men without sleep problems. The highest incidences were in men who were widowed or divorced, had limited education, and performed manual labour.
Sleep disorders have been linked with depression, anxiety, and other manifestations of stress. The researchers suggest that receiving treatment for these sleep and mood disorders may reduce the chances of cardiovascular events along with avoiding smoking, exercising regularly, and eating a heart healthy diet. Most adults should receive 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep per night, according to the National Institutes of Health. The investigators recommended adding poor sleep as a modifiable risk factor in guidelines on preventing cardiovascular disease.
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Men who slept badly were twice as likely to suffer a heart attack and up to four times as likely to have a stroke compared with those who slept well, according to a Russian study presented at EuroHeartCare.
“Sleep disorders are very closely related to the presence of cardiovascular diseases. However, until now there has not been a population based cohort study examining the impact of sleep disorders on the development of a heart attack or stroke,” lead investigator Valery Gafarov, MD, PhD, professor of cardiology…read more