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Poor sleep may increase inflammation and worsen heart health

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Individuals who sleep poorly may want to consider seeking a cholesterol test. A new study has found that regular bouts of insomnia and poor sleep quality may increase inflammation throughout the body, which may be further aggravated by high cholesterol, resulting in heart complications.

After surveying 525 participants on their sleep habits, researchers from Emory University measured their levels of certain inflammatory hormones. They found that individuals who regularly got the least sleep were significantly more likely to have high levels of the hormones and consequently, inflammation.

Inflammation can play a major role in heart health. It can lead to restricted blood flow and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. High cholesterol has been shown to aggravate the condition.

In the present study, results of c-reactive protein testing - a common method used to measure inflammation - revealed dangerously high levels for individuals who got little sleep. Researchers speculated that the results would be even more striking for individuals in hospital-based populations.

While more research needs to be conducted before any definitive recommendations can be reached, investigators said that improving sleep may be one simple way for individuals to improve their heart health.

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