Peripheral artery disease (PAD), which affects more than 200 million people worldwide and results in blocked arteries in the legs and raises the risk of stroke and heart attack, is a condition that causes blocked arteries, and new research published in the European Heart Journal has shown a strong correlation between sleep habits and the development of PAD.
Researchers discovered that compared to people who sleep 7 to 8 hours each night, those who sleep less than 5 hours have a 74% increased risk of developing PAD. The study stresses the need of getting enough sleep for preserving vascular health and delaying the onset of PAD.
A recent study that was just published in the European Heart Journal found a strong connection between getting too little sleep and an elevated risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD).
In comparison to people who follow a healthy sleep schedule of 7 to 8 hours per night, the research showed that people who sleep fewer than 5 hours each night have a 74% higher risk of developing PAD.
Both excessive daytime naps and insufficient sleep at night have previously been associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease, which, like PAD, is brought on by blocked arteries. With the goal of filling in the knowledge gap about how sleep habits affect PAD and how they affect it the other way around, this study sought to provide insightful information.
Using genetic data to study PAD risk
Almost 650,000 people participated in the survey, which was conducted in two phases. The first thing the researchers did was look at how napping during the day and how much sleep an individual gets at night correlated with their chance of developing PAD.
They next performed a Mendelian randomization analysis utilising genetic data to see whether these relationships were indeed responsible for the elevated risk of PAD.
Mendelian randomization is a research technique that examines whether there is a cause-and-effect link between specific factors and a specific outcome using genetic data. In layman’s terms, it is comparable to a natural experiment that makes use of the randomness with which our genes are passed along.
Stronger evidence for probable causal ties is produced by this strategy, which assists researchers in distinguishing between real cause-and-effect correlations and merely associational relationships.
The possibility of reverse causality is one of the drawbacks of observational research, making it difficult to determine whether sleep habits caused PAD or if having PAD affected them when a link between them and the condition is found.
Mendelian randomization is a trustworthy method for determining causality, increasing the confidence in the results.
Link between short sleep duration and PAD
Sleeping less than 5 hours each night compared to sleeping 7 to 8 hours significantly quadrupled the risk of PAD in observational research involving 53,416 adults. This result was confirmed by other analyses involving 156,582 and 452,028 individuals.
In the causative investigations, not only was short sleep associated with an increased risk of PAD, but PAD was also associated with an increased risk of short sleep.
These findings imply that insufficient nighttime sleep increases the risk of PAD development and that PAD itself increases the risk of insufficient nighttime sleep.
An observational study of 53,416 adults indicated that sleeping for more than eight hours per night was linked to a 24% higher risk of PAD than sleeping for seven to eight hours.
Analyses in two larger groups of 156,582 and 452,028 people provided support for this observation. However, no cause-and-effect relationship was observed between extended sleep and PAD.
Similar results were reported for daytime napping, when nappers had a 32% higher risk of PAD than non-nappers, although no causative links were found.
“This is a well-put-together study that better examines the link of sleep length with PAD,” said Dr. Rigved Tadwalkar, a board-certified cardiologist at Pacific Heart Institute in Santa Monica, California, who was not involved in the study.
According to Dr. Tadwalkar, “The study is of high value because earlier studies addressing this link have been limited because of less reliable study design and lower statistical power.”
Dr. Tadwalkar told that the American Heart Association released a document titled “Life’s Essential” last year, adding that the consequences for patients and the general public are enormous.
It aims to enhance public health by offering recommendations for lifestyle modifications that can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. The paper is an update of “Life’s Easy.” The most recent update includes an eighth element that emphasises sleep length.
According to other studies, “Life’s Essential 8” makes it clear that getting between 7-9 hours of sleep each night is ideal from a cardiovascular standpoint.
What do the experts think?
In order for people to improve their health results, Dr. Tadwalkar also emphasised the need for “increased understanding of the importance of high-quality sleep for individuals.”
This study “adds to the growing body of data demonstrating strong and consistent links between sleep quality and risk of developing cardiovascular disease,” according to Dr. Devin W. Kehl, a cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California who was not involved in the current study.
The majority of people are aware of how crucial it is to maintain a balanced diet and engage in regular exercise to reduce one’s chance of developing heart disease. Now, with studies like these and others, it is becoming more and more obvious that we also need to think of sufficient sleep duration and sleep quality in the same category as an important lifestyle habit, according to Dr. Devin Kehl.
Although not engaged in the study, board-certified physician Dr. Collin Johnston stated: “In my years of practising medicine, I have always believed that the western medical model must strive and focus more on the prevention of disease rather than merely the treatment of sickness.”
Dr. Johnston continued, “Unfortunately, during my medical school and residency training, a relatively small portion of time was spent learning the importance of basic health principles such as well-balanced nutrition, regular and frequent physical activity, and the integral role that quality “sleep hygiene” practises can play in helping prevent the onset of chronic health conditions.
Sleep and Heart Health During Pregnancy
The heart is put under greater stress during pregnancy, and some women experience cardiovascular issues at this time. For instance, high blood pressure can develop or get worse during pregnancy, which could have negative effects on both the mother and the unborn child.
Several pregnant women struggle with insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders, and research has linked these concerns to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases both during and after pregnancy. With the aim of lowering hypertension and other cardiovascular problems, ongoing research investigations are attempting to determine how to make pregnancy sleep better.
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