New study: People under 50 with multiple insomnia symptoms at higher risk for stroke
‘People with five to eight symptoms of insomnia had a 51% increased risk,’ according to Virginia Commonwealth University study.
Do you struggle with falling asleep, sleeping through the night or waking up too early?
A new study in the medical journal Neurology found an association between insomnia and risk of stroke.
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond discovered that falling victim to a stroke associated with insomnia is more likely in individuals younger than age 50.
The study followed 31,126 participants for nine years. The average age was 61. They were asked to rate their insomnia with a score that ranged from 1 to 4 and included five to eight symptoms.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, symptoms of insomnia include dreariness during the day, lagged responses, trouble concentrating or struggling to remember things, among others.
Personal issues such as divorce, loss of a loved one and stress at work or school can also increase your risk of insomnia.
Study author Wendemi Sawadogo said in the press release, “There are many therapies that can help people improve the quality of their sleep, so determining which sleep problems lead to an increased risk of stroke may allow for earlier treatments or behavioral therapies for people who are having trouble sleeping and possibly reducing their risk of stroke later in life.”
Researchers factored out other issues that could increase the risk for stroke, including smoking, alcohol use and level of exercise. Over the study’s nine-year duration, 2,101 participants suffered a stroke.
“People with one to four symptoms had a 16% increased risk of stroke compared to people with no symptoms. ... People with five to eight symptoms of insomnia had a 51% increased risk,” per the press release.
Participants under the age of 50 were four times more likely to suffer from a stroke when they had five to eight insomnia symptoms compared to those who had none.
“This difference in risk between these two age groups may be explained by the higher occurrence of stroke at an older age,” Sawadogo added.
The association between insomnia symptoms and stroke becomes more prevalent when people age due to other illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
“This striking difference suggests that managing insomnia symptoms at a younger age may be an effective strategy for stroke prevention. Future research should explore the reduction of stroke risk through management of sleeping problems,” Sawadogo said.