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A new study indicates that irregular sleeping habits may raise the risk of ‘hardened’ arteries in elderly people.

Atherosclerosis may be more likely to develop in people who sleep at irregular times during the week or get uneven hours of sleep .

Plaque, which is a buildup of fatty deposits on the walls of our arteries, causes the condition.

This plaque can either cause blood clots to form that block the artery, causing a heart attack or stroke, or it can cause arteries to narrow, decreasing blood flow and the quantity of oxygen and other nutrients reaching the body.

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The amount of hardened plaque in people’s arteries was shown to be higher in those whose sleep duration fluctuated by more than two hours over the course of a week. Those who had irregular sleep time by more than 90 minutes a week, were almost twice as likely to have elevated coronary artery calcium scores .

Over 2,000 adults from all over the US were studied by researchers for three years, with an average age of 69.
They found participants were 40% more likely to have high levels of hardened plaque in their arteries if their sleep duration varied by more than two hours over the course of a week.
Additionally, these individuals had a 12% higher risk of developing fatty plaque in their neck arteries and a 20% higher risk of receiving abnormal atherosclerosis test findings.

In comparison to those who only altered it by 30 minutes a week, those who had irregular sleep patterns and modified their bedtime by more than 90 minutes a week were 43% more likely to have high coronary artery calcium scores.

‘This study is one of the first investigations to show evidence of a relationship between irregular sleep duration and irregular sleep scheduling and atherosclerosis,’ said lead author Kelsie Full of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee.
An easily modifiable lifestyle behavior that can not only help enhance sleep but also help minimize cardiovascular disease in older persons is maintaining regular sleep cycles and reducing sleep variability.

Heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes have already been related to poor sleep, which includes low quality, irregular quantity, and fragmented parts.

The study’s authors claimed that by encouraging their patients to keep regular sleep schedules, doctors can lower their patients’ chance of developing cardiovascular disease.

Approximately three million people in the UK are believed to have atherosclerosis, with risks being higher for those who are older, smoke, are overweight, or are physically inactive.

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