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Heart Attack and Stroke Linked to Poor Sleep Quality?

Jun 15, 2015 04:28 PM EDT
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Heart attack and stroke continue to be the top fatal diseases in the United States, and according to new research, they may be linked to poor sleep quality.

"Mortality from cardiovascular diseases accounts for nearly 50% of the total mortality among the population. Nearly 80% of deaths from cardiovascular disease are due to myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke. It means that today we are talking about an epidemic of cardiovascular disease. It is therefore necessary to engage in intensive prevention of risk factors leading to the development of cardiovascular diseases," Valery Gafarov, professor of cardiology at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Novosibirsk, Russia, said in a press release.

"Sleep disorders are very closely related to the presence of cardiovascular diseases," he continued. "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."

As part of the World Health Organization (WHO) program "MONICA" (Multinational Monitoring of trends and determinants in Cardiovascular disease), Gafarov and his team studied a sample of 657 men aged 25 to 64 years with no history of heart attack, stroke or diabetes in Novosibirsk, Russia. They assessed sleep quality using the Jenkins Sleep Scale, with very bad, bad or poor ratings considered a sleeping disorder.

While also recording cases of heart attack or stroke in participants over the next 14 years, the researchers found that men with a sleeping disorder were 2 to 2.6 times more likely to suffer from a heart attack, compared to those without a sleeping condition.

In addition, stroke risk was 1.5 to 4 times higher in men with a sleeping disorder than those without.

"Sleep is not a trivial issue. In our study it was associated with double the risk of a heart attack and up to four times the risk of stroke. Poor sleep should be considered a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease along with smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet. Guidelines should add sleep as a risk factor to recommendations for preventing cardiovascular disease," Gafarov concluded.

The results were presented at EuroHeartCare, the official annual meeting of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions (CCNAP) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The 2015 meeting is held June 14-15 in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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