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Daytime Sleepiness Increases Heart Attack Risk

Being over 50 and having sudden need to fall asleep during the day puts you at increased risk for a heart attack and early death. Daytime sleepiness is associated with both inability to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. It is associated with obesity, lung and heart disease and sleep apnea in which you stop breathing for more than 20 seconds many times during the night.

Napping is perfectly healthful, but if you are over 50 and have sudden overwhelming need to fall asleep during the day, you may be at increased risk for a heart attack. Daytime sleepiness is associated with both inability to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. It is associated with obesity, lung and heart disease and sleep apnea in which you stop breathing for more than 20 seconds many times during the night.

If you have day-time sleepiness, check with your doctor. You may need an electrocardiogram and a check of your heart, and of your lungs and nose for obstruction. You may also need a workup to see if you have sleep apnea. If you are overweight or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, get on a program to lose weight, start a supervised exercise program and a diet. Your doctor may also prescribe drugs.

If your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, read about the benefits of napping

AB Newman, CF Spiekerman, P Enright, D Lefkowitz, T Manolio, CF Reynolds, J Robbins. Daytime sleepiness predicts mortality and cardiovascular disease in older adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2000, Vol 48, Iss 2, pp 115-123. Address Newman AB, Univ Pittsburgh, Sch Med, Div Geriatr Med, 3520 5th Ave, Suite 300, Pittsburgh,PA 15213 USA

Checked 11/21/10

May 29th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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