Insomnia and Heart Attack: What’s the Connection?

Sleep disturbances and disorders are not uncommon in the U.S. In fact, as the video featured here points out, about 40 percent of people will experience occasional insomnia. Although it’s well known that insomnia can lead to cognitive and physical health problems, the link between insomnia and heart attacks isn’t as widely recognized. Unfortunately, failure to treat chronic insomnia may increase a person’s risk of requiring life-saving interventions at a heart hospital such as MountainView Hospital .

Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Cardiovascular Health

Sleep deprivation can result in a greater risk of health problems that may lead to the need for emergency care at a heart hospital. These include an increased risk of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease (CHD). According to the National Institutes of Health , a study of more than 5,500 individuals revealed that those who slept fewer than six hours per night were 66 percent more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure compared to study participants who slept, at least, seven to eight hours per night. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to an increased risk of obesity and diabetes, which in turn can increase the risk of heart disease. Although more studies are needed in this area, some researchers have also suggested that poor sleep duration can trigger the release of stress hormones and C-reactive protein, both of which can have an adverse effect on the cardiovascular system.

Sleep-Related Indicators of Cardiovascular Disease

The connection between sleep deprivation and heart attacks is a two-way street. Just as sleep deprivation may contribute to poor cardiovascular health, heart disease itself may trigger sleep-related problems. Patients who have been diagnosed with arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) and pulmonary edema (fluid build-up in the lungs caused by heart failure) may be more likely to suffer from sleep disturbances. Additionally, patients with chest pain may report problems sleeping. Angina refers to chest pain that may indicate atherosclerosis, which can lead to a heart attack.

If you think you could be suffering a heart attack, please call 911 immediately for emergency care. Otherwise, you can request a referral to a cardiologist at MountainView Hospital by calling our Consult-A-Nurse line at (702) 233-5300. At our heart hospital in Las Vegas, you’ll find exceptional emergency care and non-emergent cardiology services to help you support your heart health.