Washington: People suffering from insomnia may have a higher risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure, and stroke, suggests a study.
The study was published in the journal Circulation.
Previous observational studies have found an association between insomnia, which affects up to 30 per cent of the general population, and an increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
However, observational studies have not been able to determine whether insomnia is a cause, or whether it is simply related to them, explains Susanna Larsson, lead author of the study.
In this first of its kind study on insomnia, Larsson and a colleague applied Mendelian randomization, a technique that uses genetic variants known to be associated with a potential risk factor such as insomnia, to reduce bias in the results.
The 1.3 million participants with or without heart disease and stroke were drawn from four major public studies and groups.
Researchers found genetic variants for insomnia were associated with significantly higher odds of coronary artery disease, heart failure, and ischemic stroke, particularly large artery stroke, but not atrial fibrillation.
"It is important to identify the underlying cause of insomnia and treat it," Larsson said. "Sleep is a behavior that can be changed by new habits and stress management."
One limitation of this study is that the results represent a genetic variant link to insomnia rather than insomnia itself. According to Larsson, it was not possible to determine whether or not individuals with cardiovascular disease had insomnia.