Insomnia May Raise Heart Attack Risk

Lack of sleep can affect your appetite, mood and ability to function all day long. Here’s another good reason to tackle insomnia: it may increase your risk of having a heart attack.

A recent study found that people who suffer from insomnia increased their risk of a heart attack from 27 to 45 percent compared to people who have no trouble sleeping, according to a news release from the American Heart Association.

Even slight sleep problems had an impact on participants in the study, which was conducted in Norway. Those who woke up tired in the morning more than once a week faced a 27 percent higher risk. Participants who said they had trouble sleeping every night had a 45 percent higher risk.

“Sleep problems are common and fairly easy to treat,” said Lars Erik Laugsand, lead researcher and internist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Department of Public Health in Trondheim. “So it’s important that people are aware of this connection between insomnia and heart attack and talk to their doctor if they’re having symptoms.”

More than 52,000 Norwegians participated in the study as part of a national survey conducted from 1995 to 1997. Researchers tracked heart attack patients for the following 11 years through a national death registry.

Researchers cannot say why insomnia is linked to a higher heart attack risk. Some suggested that sleep problems might contribute to high blood pressure and inflammation, which are known heart attack risk factors.

Other risk factors include: high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, inactivity, poor diet and secondhand smoke.

The study was published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Source: American Heart Association; National Sleep Foundation

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