Heart hazards: Study links stress and insomnia to atrial fibrillation
(NaturalHealth365) In the hustle and bustle of modern life, stress and insomnia have become unwelcome companions for many, creating a seemingly relentless pace that often leaves us just out of reach of our pursuits. As we navigate this demanding journey, the toll of stress on our bodies has been well-documented, and the repercussions of insomnia on overall health are no secret. However, a recent study has uncovered a new layer of risk, particularly for postmenopausal women.
This study sheds light on the increased risk for atrial fibrillation, emphasizing the significant impact of insomnia and stress on cardiovascular health.
Study explores the link between psychosocial factors and atrial fibrillation (AFib)
Before we delve into the details, let’s familiarize ourselves with some essential terminology. Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a cardiac condition characterized by an irregular and often rapid heartbeat. This condition poses significant risks, including blood clots, heart failure, stroke, and other complications related to the heart.
During an AFib episode, the atria (upper chambers of the heart) exhibit irregular beating, falling out of sync with the ventricles (lower chambers). While AFib may manifest without noticeable symptoms, it can also cause a pounding, accelerated heartbeat, feelings of lightheadedness, and shortness of breath.
A recent study by Dr. Susan X. Zhao and her team set out to examine the relationship between psychosocial factors and AFib. They analyzed data gathered from over 83,000 women aged 50 to 79, assessing various aspects such as stressful life events, social support, optimism, insomnia, and sleeping habits.
Chronic stress and insomnia are more dangerous than you think
After almost ten years of data analysis and follow-up, the researchers found a close association between AFib and psychosocial factors. This indicates that there are mental health risk factors for AFib that cannot be ignored and should be identified and addressed as such, although there is a need for more studies to explore this further.
Of the 83,736 women in the study, 23,954 (25%) developed atrial fibrillation. Stress was a major contributing factor. Insomnia was also found to play a part in the development of AFib. Each additional point on the insomnia scale increased the likelihood of developing AFib by 4%. On the stressful life event scale, each additional point increased the likelihood of AFib by 2%.