Category

Heart Health

Study helps solve mystery of how sleep protects against heart disease – National Institutes of Health

By Heart Health, Sleep Science No Comments

Researchers based at Massachusetts General Hospital have discovered one way that sleep protects against atherosclerosis, the buildup of arterial plaques. Their study, published in Nature, describes the mechanism by which insufficient sleep increases production of inflammatory white blood cells known to be major contributors to atherosclerosis.

“We’ve identified a mechanism by which a brain hormone controls production of inflammatory cells in the bone marrow in a way that helps protect the blood vessels from damage,” explained Filip Swirski, Ph.D., the study’s senior author. “This anti-inflammatory mechanism is regulated by sleep, and it breaks down when you frequently disrupt sleep or experience poor sleep quality. It’s a small piece of to a larger puzzle.”

Snoring can worsen heart function, especially in women – Medical News Today

By Heart Health, Sleep Apnea, Snoring, Women's Health No Comments

According to a recent study, snoring and sleep apnea may affect cardiac function in women earlier than in men. Women who snored were more likely to have a significant increase in left ventricular mass, making the heart work harder to fulfill the body’s needs.

Findings also suggested that obstructive sleep apnea may be vastly underdiagnosed among snorers.

Treating Sleep Apnea Greatly Improves Stroke Patients’ Recovery – Sleep Review

By Brain Health, Heart Health, Sleep Apnea No Comments

A large study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that starting treatment for sleep apnea as early as possible after a stroke or a mini-stroke significantly improves recovery and clinical outcome.

According to the lead author, Dawn Bravata, MD, “We have shown, for the first time in a randomized controlled study, that for individuals who have had a stroke or a TIA—a transient ischemic attack, also known as a mini-stroke— the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea with CPAP therapy provides significant benefits, even greater than the benefits of tPA [tissue plasminogen activator], the FDA-approved drug treatment for stroke.” 

The study followed 252 individuals who had strokes or TIAs for up to one year after the event. Two-thirds of the study participants were effectively using CPAP therapy for sleep apnea. Preliminary data suggests that the earlier sleep apnea was treated in stroke patients, the more potent the effect of that treatment.