The Heart Attack (And Stroke) Risk Factor Millions Deal With Every Night

It’s no secret that sleep is a basic function that plays a vital role in overall health and well-being. However, new research presented at EuroHeartCare 2015 says poor sleep is linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Researchers at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences chronicled the sleep habits of 657 men between ages 25 and 64 for a 14-year period. None of the participants had a history of heart attack, stroke, or diabetes; the study experts wanted to investigate the possible long-term effects of sleep issues and the risk of developing a heart attack or stroke later in life.

Over the course of the trial, 63 percent of the men who had suffered a heart attack were also categorized as having a sleep disorder (ratings of “very bad,” “bad,” or “poor” sleep were considered a sleep disorder). During the follow-up period, which took place between five and 14 years, it was discovered that men with a sleep disorder were about twice as likely (2 to 2.6 times) to be at risk of myocardial infarction (aka, a heart attack) and up to four times more likely to be at risk of stroke.

“Poor sleep should be considered a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, along with smoking, lack of exercise, and poor diet,” said professor Valery Gafarov in a formal statement. “Guidelines should add sleep as a risk factor to recommendations for preventing cardiovascular disease.”

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