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Poor Sleep Linked To Heart Attack And Stroke, Scientists Found

Angela Beltran

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On average, an adult needs about seven to nine hours of sleep per night. A new study has found that having fewer sleeping hours is associated with the development of heart attack and stroke, two of the most life-threatening medical conditions today.

In a new study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, the scientists discovered that some sleep disturbances are connected to ischemic heart disease and stroke.

Notably, ischemic heart disease has been linked to shorter sleep and brief moments of waking up.

Also known as coronary artery disease, ischemia refers to problems caused by the narrowing of the arteries in the heart. When the arteries supplying blood to the heart narrow, less oxygen reaches the coronary muscles (heart muscles).

As a result, this may lead to a heart attack, which is one of the leading causes of mortality across the globe.

On the other hand, stroke involves the narrowing of the arteries in the brain. When the blockage impedes the blood flow to the brain, the neurons do not receive the needed oxygen to function properly. This may lead to cell death.

Dr. Nobuo Sasaki from the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Casualty Council, Japan said in a statement:

“Poor sleep is associated with cardiovascular diseases such as ischaemic heart disease and stroke, but the kind of sleep disturbances that are most risky is not well documented.

“Poor sleep includes too short or too long sleep, difficulty falling asleep, and difficulty maintaining sleep.”

The researchers examined the link between disturbances in sleep and cardiovascular disease.

They also hoped to shed light on the differences in sleep disturbances between the two medical conditions.

The researchers found that out of the 12,876 people who were part of the study, 560 suffered a stroke, 773 had a history of ischemic heart disease or myocardial infarction (heart attack), while 11,543 had no cardiovascular disease.


The researchers also assessed the sleeping habits of the residents who were part of the study via the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Based on their answers, the PSQI scores were calculated ranging from 0 to 21.

The team found that 52 percent of the participants with ischemic heart disease, 48 percent of those who had a stroke, and 37 percent of those with no cardiovascular disease had poor sleep.

The researchers concluded that lack of sleep or poor sleep may lead to cardiovascular disease, particularly heart attack and stroke.

Do you sleep adequately at night? If no, having regular consultations with a physician is important.

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