Insomnia may be linked to heart disease, stroke risk

Dr. Andrew Stiehm
Dr. Andrew Stiehm, Allina Health pulmonologist and sleep expert.

[Healthline, August 22, 2019] People with a genetic predisposition toward insomnia are at higher risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure, and stroke, according to a new study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. Researchers stressed, however, that the study only demonstrated an association between the two disorders, not a cause-and-effect relationship.

Also unclear is whether insomnia causes heart problems or vice versa, said Andrew Stiehm,MD, who specializes in pulmonary and sleep medicine at Allina Health’s United Sleep and Lung Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“It’s probably both,” Dr. Stiehm told Healthline. “Insomnia does cause you to have higher blood pressure. But heart disease causes insomnia as well.”

Similarly, while insomnia is suspected of raising the risk of diabetes, the neuropathy associated with the disease can also cause limb pain that can disrupt sleep, Stiehm noted.

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