By Dennis Thompson
That risk skyrocketed for people between the ages of 18 and 34, who were eight times more likely to suffer strokes if they had insomnia when compared to their peers who got good sleep, the study found.
"We pay a lot of attention to high blood pressure, to obesity, to issues related to cholesterol. Those are known risk factors," said Dr. Demetrius Lopes, director of the Interventional Cerebrovascular Center at Rush University in Chicago and a spokesman for the American Heart Association. "But I think what is underrated is if you don't have a good sleep routine, how much it can harm you, especially at a young age."
The findings were published in the May issue of the journal Stroke.
During the four-year follow-up, 583 insomniacs and 962 non-insomniacs were admitted to a hospital for stroke. After accounting for other factors, the researchers concluded that the people with insomnia had an increased stroke risk compared with those who slept well.
Researcher Ya-Wen Hsu, at Chia Nan University, and colleagues also found that the amount of insomnia a person suffers had a direct bearing on their apparent stroke risk.
People who suffered persistent insomnia had a higher risk of stroke than people with intermittent insomnia, and both groups were at greater risk than people whose insomnia stopped during the study.
While the study found an association between insomnia and higher stroke risk, it didn't prove cause-and-effect.