Insomnia: increased risk of heart attack and stroke

Insomnia is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, according to a study published on 30 March 2017 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology .

Sleep is important for biological recovery and takes about a third of our lives. On the other hand, in modern society, more and more people complain of insomnia. They are caused in particular by financial hassles, problems of depression, difficulties of human relationships (professionals, family, couple …), the use of new technologies or addictions.For example, it is reported that about one-third of the general population in Germany suffered from symptoms of insomnia.

“Suffering from insomnia, I would exchange a mattress of feathers against a sleep of lead.” Pierre Dac

A meta-analysis of 15 studies with a total of 160,867 participants

In this new study, researchers found associations between insomnia and mediocre health outcomes.The links between insomnia and heart disease or stroke have been inconsistent.The current meta-analysis assessed the association between symptoms of insomnia and incidence or death from cardiovascular disease (acute myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, heart failure), stroke or Combination of events.Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty in initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, morning awakening and non-restorative sleep.All of the symptoms were associated with cardiovascular risks and strokes, respectively, at 27%, 11% and 18%, researchers say.But the underlying mechanisms of these links are not fully understood.

The authors analyzed 15 prospective cohort studies with a total of 160,867 participants.During a median follow-up of three to 29.6 years, there were 11,702 adverse events.There were significant associations between difficulty in initiating sleep, difficulty in maintaining sleep and non-restorative sleep, and the risk of heart disease and stroke, with an increased relative risk of 1.27, 1, 11 and 1.18 respectively compared to those who do not have these symptoms of insomnia.There was no association between morning awakening and adverse events.

Previous studies have shown that insomnia can change metabolism and endocrine function, increase sympathetic activation , blood pressure and levels of pro-inflammatory and inflammatory cytokines .Researchers say they are all risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke.


A slight difference between women and men

Women with symptoms of insomnia had a slightly higher risk of stroke than men, particularly for non-restorative sleep, but the difference between the sexes did not reach statistical significance.It is difficult to conclude that insomnia is more dangerous for women, given the limitations of the meta-analyzes and the lack of statistically significant difference between the sexes.However, according to the study, women are more prone to insomnia due to differences in genetics, sex hormones, stress and stress response.It may therefore be prudent to pay more attention to women’s sleeping health.

Sleep disorders are common in the population and sleep health should be included in the clinical risk assessment.Health education is needed to educate the public about the symptoms of insomnia and the potential risks.The authors state that people with sleep problems should take their situation seriously and be encouraged to seek solutions to end their insomnia.


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