A new study found that getting fewer hours of sleep could lead to higher health risks for people with metabolic syndrome. This latter is a group of risk factors which include high blood sugar, obesity, elevated levels of ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol, and low HDL or ‘good’ ones, among others. Patients who present at least three of these symptoms are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome.
Now, this new research claims that getting fewer hours of sleep could also be added to the list of risk factors. Study results are available in a paper in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Less Sleep Associated with Increased Chances of Stroke and Heart Disease in Metabolic Syndrome
The study is based on data gathered during a night-long experiment. Over 1,300 spent a night in a sleep lab and were then followed for a median of 16.6 years. Research participants included people with metabolic syndrome.
An analysis of the follow-up data showed that these latter presented an increased risk of dying of cardiovascular disease when compared to the other participants. This was noted in people that slept 6 hours or less. They also presented a higher risk factor in other diseases as well. The study results were adjusted for sleep apnea, which is a well-known heart disease risk.
“Sleep should be evaluated and taken into consideration when calculating cardiovascular risk, especially in those who have already developed cardiometabolic risk factors,” stated Julio Fernandez-Mendoza.
He is the study lead researcher and a Ph.D. part of the Penn State Hershey Sleep Research & Treatment Center.
The research also noted that less sleep might mean a higher risk of premature death. This was especially noted among those that presented high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure.
But Fernandez-Mendoza points out that this study didn’t prove a cause-effect relation. He states that many other factors may and probably are involved as well.
The lead researcher underlines the fact that this latest experiment found an association between short sleep, metabolic syndrome, and increased heart disease risks. But he considers that more studies on the matter are still needed, ones that will analyze biological and behavioral standpoints as well.
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