Sleep Disorders Can Lead To Heart Attack

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Jun 23, 2015 06:47 AM EDT

Not getting enough sleep on a nightly basis? Try to unwind before sleeping because a recent study correlates poor sleeping habits to an increased occurrence of heart attack or stroke in an individual.

The Huffington Post writes that Valery Gafarov, a professor of cardiology at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, has confirmed last Monday that not getting enough sleep can increase the likelihood of a person suffering a heart attack.

He highlights that poor sleep should also be considered as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, just like smoking, unhealthy diet, and a sedentary lifestyle. Incidentally, sleep deprivation is discovered to be common among men and women in the United States, resulting to several health conditions amongst Americans like obesity, diabetes, and even cancer. His research also notes how sleep deprivation is closely associated with anxiety, depression, hostility and exhaustion.

Although the research is yet to be published, the participants at EuroHeartCare, an annual meeting of European Society of Cardiology, believe that it is a start to study the relationship between the two conditions.

Medical Daily reports that as it is part of the World Health Organization's program MONICA (Multinational Monitoring of Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease), this would help ordinary citizens understand further the risk that bad sleeping habits bring.

Professor Gafarov says that sleep disorder can cause an epidemic of cardiovascular disease; thus it is necessary to increase the awareness regarding the prevention of risk factors among high risk individuals.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the leading sleep disorders among 50 to 70 million Americans, with 50 percent of the cases involving obese individuals. Apnea occurs when 90 percent of the airflow has been reduced, often resulting to constant reawakening during sleep. Reduced airflow can weaken the heart, which consequently, leads to cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, Dr. Virend K. Somers of Sleep Foundation expresses that there is a correlation between sleep disorders, pre-existing medical conditions, and stroke. He notes that people with sleep apnea often have pre-existing conditions, such as hypertension. Blood pressure may elevate if sleep is disrupted by sleep apnea because of difficulty in breathing. If an individual is unable to breathe properly, the oxygen level in the body decreases, which in turn, alerts the brain to send signals to the blood vessels to tighten up and increase oxygen flow to the heart and brain.

Creating a healthy and consistent sleeping habit can help decrease the occurrence of sleep disorders. Make it an effort to sleep at least seven to eight hours to prevent developing cardiovascular diseases and to increase life expectancy.

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