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New research shows link unlikely between insomnia symptoms and high blood pressure
Date:6/24/2014

TORONTO, June 25, 2014There's good news for the 30 per cent or more of adults who suffer from insomnia--difficulty falling asleep, waking up for prolonged periods during the night or unwanted early morning awakenings.

New research from St. Michael's Hospital has found that insomnia does not put them at increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

Dr. Nicholas Vozoris, a respirologist at St. Michael's, said there is growing concern among patients and health care providers about the potential medical consequences of insomnia, especially on the cardiovascular system.

If there were a link, this would have at least two major implications for the health care system. First, because insomnia is a common problem and often chronic in duration, a large portion of the population would need long-term screening for the possible development of high blood pressure.

Second, doctors might prescribe sleeping pills more often in an effort to treat insomnia from a possible blood-pressure lowering perspective. Dr. Vozoris said sleeping pills are already used too often and associated with a number of serious side effects, including addiction, overdose, car accidents and falls.

Dr. Vozoris said previous studies that suggested a link between insomnia and high blood pressure were often based on small numbers of people. He examined data from nearly 13,000 Americans who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a series of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The survey is unique in that it combines interviews and physical examinations.

Participants were asked about their insomnia symptoms, and their responses were correlated with whether they had doctor-diagnosed hypertension, were taking anti-hypertension drugs, or had measured high blood pressure.

"After adjusting for many factors, including whether or not participa
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Contact: Leslie Shepherd
shepherdl@smh.ca
416-864-6094
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert  

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