Previous observational studies have found an association between insomnia, which affects up to 30% of the general population, and an increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
These observational studies were unable to determine whether insomnia is a cause, or if it is just associated with them, explained Susanna Larsson, Ph.D., lead study author and associate professor of cardiovascular and nutritional epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.
In this first-of-its-kind study on insomnia, Larsson and a colleague applied Mendelian randomisation, a technique that uses genetic variants known to be connected with a potential risk factor, such as insomnia, to reduce bias in the results.
The 1.3 million participants with or without heart disease and stroke were drawn from four major public studies and groups.
Researchers found genetic variants for insomnia were associated with significantly higher odds of coronary artery disease, heart failure and ischemic stroke-particularly large artery stroke, but not atrial fibrillation.
A limitation of this study is that the results represent a genetic variant link to insomnia rather than insomnia itself. According to Larsson, it was not possible to determine whether or not the individuals with cardiovascular disease had insomnia.
Source: Medical Xpress