Sleep and Stroke

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Story Updated: Apr 7, 2014

Chronic sleep trouble dramatically raises the risk for experiencing a stroke, new research reveals.

The finding outlined in the American Heart Association journal Stroke is based on a study that compared nearly 21,500 insomnia patients with more than 64,000 healthy sleepers.

All the study participants were Taiwan residents ranging in age from 18 to north of 65. Over a 4-year period, more than 580 insomnia patients had a stroke compared with over 960 in the healthy group.This translated into a 54% greater risk for stroke among insomnia patients. But, by far, the greatest bump in risk was seen among the youngest insomnia patients. Adults between 18 and 34 seemed to bear an 8 times greater risk for stroke compared with healthy sleepers.

Why remains unclear. However, the investigating team noted that insomnia can spark inflammation, high blood pressure, and impaired glucose metabolism all of which can negatively affect heart health.

The diet, exercise and smoking habits of insomnia patients may also play a role as can mental health difficulties, such as stress.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news that can help you stay healthy, happy, and fit.

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