Insomnia may lead to stroke

People with insomnia or intermittent sleep may be more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people who don’t have any sleep problems, a new study suggests.

The researchers followed 487,200 people in China for about a decade when they were on average 51, and none had a history of heart disease or stroke at the start of the study.

After nearly a decade of follow-up, there were 130,32 strokes, heart attacks and other similar illnesses among the study population.

In general, people with three symptoms of insomnia – difficulty sleeping, intermittent sleep or waking up too early in the morning, and difficulty concentrating during the day due to lack of sleep – were 18 percent more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, the researchers wrote in the journal Neuroscience. Compared to those who don’t have any of these problems.

“These findings suggest that if we can help people who have difficulty sleeping through behavioral therapies, it is possible to reduce the number of strokes, heart attacks, and other diseases,” Dr. Liming Li, who led the study, a researcher at Peking University, said in a statement.

The study found that about 11% of the participants had difficulty falling asleep or had intermittent sleep, 10% woke up very early, and 2% had difficulty concentrating during the day due to lack of sleep.

Compared to participants who did not have symptoms of insomnia, those who had sleep problems were older, female and unmarried and living in rural areas.

People with insomnia symptoms were also less educated and income, and were more likely to have diabetes or mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression.

Source: Reuters

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