Poor Sleep May Make High Blood Pressure Worse

(HealthDay News) – Insomnia is nobody’s friend, but new research indicates that those with high blood pressure who struggle to get enough sound sleep are twice as likely to have a resistant case of hypertension as those who sleep well.

Studying more than 230 patients with hypertension, scientists from the University of Pisa in Italy also found that women scored far higher than men on measures of poor sleep quality, and most participants slept six or fewer hours per night. The participants had an average age of 58.

“There are a number of studies demonstrating a relationship between hypertension risk and insomnia and short sleep duration, but no one correlated poor sleep quality with hypertension severity [before],” said study author Rosa Maria Bruno, a doctoral student and research fellow at the Institute of Clinical Physiology-National Council of Research in Pisa.

“The results … suggest that insomnia in resistant hypertensive patients, particularly women, could be clinically relevant not only for quality of life but also for cardiovascular health and should not be disregarded,” she added.

The study is scheduled to be presented Friday at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research meeting in Washington, D.C.

About 75 million Americans have diagnosed high blood pressure, with 50 million taking anti-hypertensive drugs. But medications don’t sufficiently control the condition — a major risk factor for heart disease — in 20 percent to 30 percent of those cases, according to the heart association.

High blood pressure is considered resistant if patients are taking three or more hypertension medications but still log blood pressure readings higher than 140/90 mmHg.

Although short sleep duration was highly prevalent in all study participants, women were found to suffer disproportionately from poor sleep quality and depressive symptoms. About 12 percent of participants had experienced previous cardiovascular events, while 8 percent had diabetes and 15 percent were smokers.


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