JAN 03, 2020 10:46 AM PST

Healthy Sleep May Offset Genetic Heart Disease Risk

People with a high genetic risk of heart disease or stroke may be able to offset that risk with healthy sleep patterns, according to new research.

The researchers looked at genetic variations known as SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) that scientists have already linked to the development of heart disease and stroke. They analyzed the SNPs from blood samples taken from more than 385,000 healthy participants in the UK Biobank project and used them to create a genetic risk score to determine whether the participants were at high, intermediate, or low risk of cardiovascular problems.

The researchers followed the participants for an average of 8.5 years, during which time there were 7,280 cases of heart disease or stroke.

“We found that compared to those with an unhealthy sleep pattern, participants with good sleeping habits had a 35% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a 34% reduced risk of both heart disease and stroke,” says Lu Qi, director of the Obesity Research Center at Tulane University. Researchers say those with the healthiest sleep patterns slept 7 to 8 hours a night, without insomnia, snoring, or daytime drowsiness.

When the researchers looked at the combined effect of sleep habits and genetic susceptibility on cardiovascular disease, they found that participants with both a high genetic risk and a poor sleep pattern had a more than 2.5-fold greater risk of heart disease and a 1.5-fold greater risk of stroke compared to those with a low genetic risk and a healthy sleep pattern.

This meant that there were 11 more cases of heart disease and 5 more cases of stroke per 1,000 people a year among poor sleepers with a high genetic risk compared to good sleepers with a low genetic risk. However, a healthy sleep pattern compensated slightly for a high genetic risk, with just over a two-fold increased risk for these people.

A person with a high genetic risk but a healthy sleep pattern had a 2.1-fold greater risk of heart disease and a 1.3-fold greater risk of stroke compared to someone with a low genetic risk and a good sleep pattern. While someone with a low genetic risk, but an unhealthy sleep pattern had 1.7-fold greater risk of heart disease and a 1.6-fold greater risk of stroke.

“As with other findings from observational studies, our results indicate an association, not a causal relation,” Qi says.

“However, these findings may motivate other investigations and, at least, suggest that it is essential to consider overall sleep behaviors when considering a person’s risk of heart disease or stroke.”

 

Originally posted on futurity.org

The study appears in the European Heart Journal.

Source: Tulane University

About the Author
  • Futurity features the latest discoveries by scientists at top research universities in the US, UK, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The nonprofit site, which launched in 2009, is supported solely by its university partners (listed below) in an effort to share research news directly with the public.
You May Also Like
MAY 11, 2021
Cardiology
Red Blood Cells Could Help Predict Recovery in Cardiovascular Patients
MAY 11, 2021
Red Blood Cells Could Help Predict Recovery in Cardiovascular Patients
Cells are one of the basic building blocks of life. There are hundreds of different cell types, and they all work togeth ...
JUN 21, 2021
Cardiology
Researchers Find Evidence That Gut Microbes Affect Stroke Severity
JUN 21, 2021
Researchers Find Evidence That Gut Microbes Affect Stroke Severity
Research has indicated that there is a connection between gut microbes and heart health. Now scientists are revealing so ...
SEP 01, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Will Childhood Cancer Survivors Go On to Have Broken Hearts?
SEP 01, 2021
Will Childhood Cancer Survivors Go On to Have Broken Hearts?
Patients are seven times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than the general population after receiving treatm ...
SEP 22, 2021
Cardiology
Towards a Gene Therapy for Heart Regeneration
SEP 22, 2021
Towards a Gene Therapy for Heart Regeneration
For years, researchers at the Texas Heart Institute have been investigating the natural biochemical processes related to ...
OCT 21, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Cholesterol Drug Regrows Neurons After Spinal Cord Injury
OCT 21, 2021
Cholesterol Drug Regrows Neurons After Spinal Cord Injury
Fenofibrate, an FDA-approved drug used to reduce cholesterol levels, causes sensory neurons in the spine following spina ...
OCT 29, 2021
Cardiology
Poor Sleep May Disrupt Heart Rhythms
OCT 29, 2021
Poor Sleep May Disrupt Heart Rhythms
The National Institutes of Health describes chronic insomnia as a condition that occurs three or more nights every week, ...
Loading Comments...