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Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk

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Heart disease and circulatory disease cause a quarter of all deaths in the UK which is more than 160,000 deaths each year, equating to one death every three minutes. Cardiovascular disease impacts an estimated seven million people in the UK and is a significant cause of disability and death. But is your bedtime impacting your heart health and cardiovascular disease risk?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a term covering a range of conditions impacting the heart and blood vessels.

The medical conditions are usually associated with a build-up of fatty deposits in one’s arteries and an increased risk of blood clots.

The disease can be associated with damage to arteries in organs, including the brain, stopping vytorin heart, kidneys and eyes.

Cardiovascular disease is one of the main causes of death and disability across Britain – but can largely be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle.

A new study has shown how one key lifestyle change can help decrease one’s risk of CVD.

The research published in the European Heart Journal – Digital Health his week drew parallels between people who fall asleep between 10pm and 11pm to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study’s author David Plans said: “The body has a 24-hour internal clock, called circadian rhythm, that helps regulate physical and mental functioning.

“While we cannot conclude causation from our study, the results suggest that early or late bedtimes may be more likely to disrupt the body clock, with adverse consequences for cardiovascular health.”

Many factors can influence your heart health, including genetics and smoking, but now sleep has been hailed as a crucial factor.

Dr Plans and his team analysed data from more than 88,000 people in the UK Biobank, which is a database containing health and lifestyle data for research purposes.

A little more than 3,000 adults developed cardiovascular disease.

Participants were asked to log details of their daily health habits including their sleep and waking patterns.

Overall, the research showed those who fell asleep at midnight or later had a 25 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those who fell asleep between 10pm and 11pm.

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Those who fell asleep between 11pm and 11.59pm had a 12 percent higher risk of developing CVD.

Those who regularly fell asleep before 10pm had a 24 percent increased risk of developing the condition according to the study where the average age of participants was 61 and roughly 60 percent of those involved in the research were women.

Researchers attempted to control any external factors which could influence the results including smoker status, high blood pressure and socioeconomic stance.

Those conducting the study still found the link between bedtime and heart health stands.

Those who fell asleep between 11pm and 11.59pm had a 12 percent higher risk of developing CVD.

Those who regularly fell asleep before 10pm had a 24 percent increased risk of developing the condition according to the study where the average age of participants was 61 and roughly 60 percent of those involved in the research were women.

Researchers attempted to control any external factors which could influence the results including smoker status, high blood pressure and socioeconomic stance.

Those conducting the study still found the link between bedtime and heart health stands.

The scientists conducting the study believe their findings may be concerned with a person’s natural circadian rhythm.

A circadian rhythm is an internal, natural process which regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours.

When one’s internal clock is disrupted by factors such as changing bedtimes, it can negatively impact one’s heart according to the researchers.

Dr Plans said: “Our study indicates that the optimum time to go to sleep is at a specific point in the body’s 24-hour cycle and deviations may be detrimental to health.”

Regina Giblin, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This large study suggests that going to sleep between 10 and 11pm could be the sweet spot for most people to keep their heart healthy long-term.

“However, it’s important to remember that this study can only show an association and can’t prove cause and effect.

“More research is needed into sleep timing and duration as a risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases.

“Getting enough sleep is important for our general wellbeing as well as our heart and circulatory health, and most adults should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night, she said.

“But sleep isn’t the only factor that can impact heart health.

“It’s also important to look at your lifestyle as knowing your numbers such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, cutting down on salt and alcohol intake, and eating a balanced diet can also help to keep your heart healthy.”

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