CBS Segment Highlights New Research Linking Insomnia to Heart Attack and Stroke

CBS recently aired a segment on their Health Watch section highlighting the newly discovered link between insomnia and a person’s risk of stroke and heart attack*. During the brief clip, Dr. Holly Phillips, Medical Contributor for CBS News, discusses the study’s findings and what they could mean for your health. Considering that 1 in 5 Americans find getting regular, consistent sleep difficult, this topic is vitally important. The exact reason for the link between insomnia and stroke/heart attack is unclear; however, researchers believe insomnia and other sleep disorders boost the brain’s “Fight or Flight” system, which results in increased heart rate and blood pressure. Continuous dips and spikes in these two areas may be what causes the heightened risk of stroke and heart attack. According to Dr. Phillips, however, one thing is clear: “Discussing sleep should be a standard part of medical checkups and we should do our best to get our zzzz’s.”

Click here to watch the full Health Watch segment.

Insomnia Link to Higher Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack Highlights:

  • The new study had over 43,000 participants aged 45+
  • Over 10,000 were diagnosed with insomnia
  • Researchers tracked study participants and found that those who suffered from insomnia were:

2.3X more likely to have a heart attack and 2X more likely to have stroke

  • Other chronic illness associated with insomnia and other sleep disorders:

Depression Substance Abuse Poor Cognitive Functioning

*Gregg Fonarow, M.D., professor, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Los Angeles; Aparajitha Verma, M.D., medical director, Methodist Hospital Comprehensive Sleep Disorders Program, Houston; Nov. 4, 2012, presentation, American Heart Association annual meeting, Los Angeles