PHOENIX -- Turns out being cranky could be the least of your worries if you don't get enough shut eye. A new study shows little sleep might raise people's risk of a having a stroke.
Dr. Grayson Wheatley, a cardiovascular surgeon at the Arizona Heart Institute, said strokes aren't just hitting older people. The younger population is also at risk.
“In terms of standard across-the-board risk factors, it would be pre-existing heart disease and poorly controlled hypertension,” Wheatley said.
But now, lack of sleep could be added into the mix. New data from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham reveals there is a four times greater risk of stroke symptoms in people who get less than six hours of sleep at night.
The study followed more than 5,600 adults over three years
“It is the first of its kind to say sleep may be a detriment to healthier people than the people that we have been talking about in the past,” Wheatley said.
So even if you have a healthy body mass index, don't experience sleep apnea or history of stroke, you're still at risk.
“One of the things that I'm recommending to patients is that they do need to tell their family practice doctor and their heart doctors how much sleep they're actually getting because it's not something we normally ask,” Wheatley said.
“I think it's an important indicator that I think everyone should be more involved and more in tune to understanding sleep problems,” he said.
The findings were presented at the SLEEP 2012 Conference in Boston.