AHA Calls for Guidelines: Sleep Disorders Linked to Increased Cardiovascular Risk

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Sleep behavior should be addressed in a public health campaign.
Sleep behavior should be addressed in a public health campaign.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has released a scientific statement on the impact of short sleep duration and sleeping disorders on cardiovascular health, published in Circulation.

Based on a review of available epidemiologic data, the AHA panel concluded that both short- and long-duration sleep and sleep disorders are associated with adverse cardiometabolic risk profiles and outcomes, and treating said disorders may provide clinical benefits, especially for blood pressure. In addition, they found that energy balance is negatively affected by less sleep; however, the impact of sleep disorder treatment on obesity remains unclear.

“The impact of obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia on cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders is striking,” the authors wrote. “Population-based studies show that individuals with obstructive sleep apnea or insomnia are at significantly greater risk for CVD and cerebrovascular diseases (eg, arrhythmias, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, heart failure, hypertension, and stroke) and metabolic disorders (eg, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and dyslipidemia).”

Taking into account recommendations put forth by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, the authors also urged the AHA to “directly address sleep behavior in a public health campaign,” similar to the Simple 7 program that advises on blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, physical activity, diet, weight, and smoking cessation. This campaign should include clear guidelines for adequate sleep, as well as suggestions for including sleep disorder screening in routine health care and in public health settings.

Other sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder should also be studied to identify a relationship with cardiometabolic risk.

For future research, the panel recommended including more diverse populations, longer-term follow-up, and accurate and objective measures of sleep behavior and sleep architecture.

Reference

St-Onge M-P, Grandner MA, Brown D, et al; on behalf of the American Heart Association Behavior Change, Diabetes, and Nutrition Committees of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young; Council on Clinical Cardiology; and Stroke Council. Sleep duration and quality: impact on lifestyle behaviors and cardiometabolic health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2016;134. doi:10.1161/CIRC.0000000000000444.

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