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Insomnia Linked to 50% Higher Stroke Risk in Those with 5+ Symptoms

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 10 months ago

New research published in the Neurology journal has found a strong correlation between insomnia and stroke, particularly for those under the age of 50. The study analyzed data collected from more than 30,000 participants over an 18-year period and found that each new symptom of insomnia increased the risk of stroke by 7%. Those with five to six symptoms of insomnia had a 51% increased chance of having a stroke during the study period. The risk was sustained over a long period of time, suggesting that it is unlikely to resolve itself without intervention. The study is one of the only ones looking at this particular connection and appears to be the first focused on the American public.

Dr. Wendemi Sawadogo of Virginia Commonwealth University, one of the study's authors, said that insomnia's link to stroke risk exists within a broader understanding of how it can also lead to other conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia, which can potentially be risk factors for stroke.

Dr. Johanna Fifi, vice president of the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery and a physician and professor at Mount Sinai, said that the study's finding that those under 50 were at an increased risk makes sense because younger people have fewer comorbidities and may have a different perception of their health.

While the study has limitations, including relying on self-reported symptoms, it adds to the significant body of work on the effects of lack of sleep. Azizi Seixas, associate director of the Center for Translational Sleep and Circadian Sciences at the University of Miami, stresses the need to communicate with your care team and find personalized risk profiles to prevent adverse health outcomes.

The authors of the study suggest that increased awareness and management of insomnia symptoms may contribute to the prevention of stroke. Seixas warns that the culture of being able to be productive without much sleep is revered but can lead to ominous consequences like stroke if sleep problems are not addressed.

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