INSOMNIA IS A RISK for NEW CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

Insomnia is very common among older adults with HIV. The question is whether poor sleep habits may be a risk factor for the onset of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes acute myocardial infarction, stroke, or revascularization. 

HIV-infected US veterans (n =3108), who have been under study, were followed for 11 years to determine the frequency of new CVD, as documented in medical records. Two subgroups were identified: one who had frequent “difficulty falling or staying asleep” and a comparison group who did not have symptoms of insomnia. Those with frequent symptoms were found to be at higher risk for new CVD over the 11-year period. Corrections were made for demographic factors such as sex and age, known CVD risk factors, HIV status, and other possible factors that could have affected the onset of CVD.  After those corrections, those with the most insomnia symptoms had a 66% higher risk of new CVD compared to those without insomnia symptoms.  Curiously,  having   symptoms of depression reduced the relationship between insomnia and CVD.  

These results indicate that the challenges of insomnia may be an additional risk factor for cardiovascular disease in those living with HIV. The good news is that f insomnia can be managed by appropriate treatment  which can lead to a reduction in  cardiovascular disease  (CVD).  

Polanka, B.N. et al 2019) Insomnia as an Independent Predictor of Incident Cardiovascular Disease in HIV: Data From The Veterans Aging Cohort Study. Acquir Immune  Defc Syndr, 81 (1), 110-117