Patients with heart failure routinely suffer from insomnia, but does insomnia increase the risk of heart failure?
Researchers in Norway spent more than a decade studying the question, concluding that insomnia caused more than a three-fold increase in heart failure risk.
The study, “Insomnia and the risk of incident heart failure: a population study“ published online last week in the European Heart Journal, followed 54,279 people between the ages of 20-89 for an average of more than 11 years.
According to a summary prepared by the European Society of Cardiology, Dr Lars Laugsand, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Public Health, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, related heart failure risk “to three major insomnia symptoms, including trouble falling asleep, problems staying asleep, and not waking up feeling refreshed in the morning.”
Laugsand’s study found that persons suffering from insomnia “have increased risk of having heart failure. Those reporting suffering from all three insomnia symptoms simultaneously were at considerably higher risk than those who had no symptoms or only one or two symptoms.”
An abstract in the European Heart Journal details researchers’ conclusions that insomnia is specifically associated with an increased risk of incident heart failure. “If our results are confirmed by others and causation is proved,” write researchers, “evaluation of insomnia symptoms might have consequences for cardiovascular prevention.”
The authors also found a moderate risk increase related to individual insomnia symptoms. However, risk among those with “all three insomnia symptoms simultaneously” was particularly high even after adjustment for established cardiovascular risk factors and psychological distress.