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Your sleep can affect heart function

It is an established fact that sleep affects both mental and physical health. But, according to latest research, lack of sleep can lead to life threatening cardiovascular diseases. The link between insomnia and cardiovascular problems and the way it controls it, are new findings.

The issue of insomnia is a widespread problem. People with insomnia, often struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep. There are cases reported where patients suffer with both.

The prevalence of insomnia is increasing at chronic rate. Around 1 in 4 adults in the world, experience acute or short-term insomnia, every year. Acute insomnia refers to the condition where a person experiences sleep problems, lasting for short period of time. This can be due to stress or worry.

Around three-quarters of insomniacs, return to their regular sleeping patterns. Others go on to develop chronic insomnia.

Chronic insomnia means that a person has sleeping problem for at least 3 nights a week. This can last no less than 3 months. Both acute and chronic insomnia causes daytime drowsiness, concentration, memory problems and a lack of energy.

Recent analysis have found more worrying links. It shows that the insomnia also influences the onset of depression, anxiety, and alcohol misuse. More studies are confirming the relationship between insomnia and heart disease.

In the past, researchers failed to define insomnia correctly. In those researches, the participants were not controlled properly. They may at times not have the disorder but still were labelled as insomniacs. On the contrary, modern researches are working hard to identify insomnia with a definite methodology.

The new results published suggest that diagnosing insomnia, particularly in young people, may reduce cardiovascular disease risk later on in life. The researchers analysed three symptoms of insomnia, where the symptoms lasted at least 3 days a week. The symptoms were: problems falling asleep or staying asleep, waking too early, or struggling to focus during the day because of disrupted sleep. Risk factors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption were also taken account of. The study identified that the participants who reported experiencing all three insomnia symptoms had maximum chance of developing cardiovascular diseases compared with those who did not experience the symptoms.

It was reported that those who face trouble focusing during the day were moderately predicted to develop heart attack, stroke, and comparable diseases than people who did not have problems focusing. Researchers identified that the people who found it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep had few chances of developing these diseases, while those who woke up too early were not much likely to experience a stroke, heart attack, or similar.

Despite of all above results, the researchers were not able to establish a cause and effect between insomnia and cardiovascular illnesses. The findings simply reflect an association between the two.

Further analyses can assist medical professionals to track symptoms of insomnia. This will help in strengthening the association between heart and sleep. The results also suggested that if people having trouble in sleeping, seek behavioral therapies, then the number of cases of stroke, heart attack, and other diseases can be reduce later in life.

November 22, 2019

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