HealthDay News– Genetic liability to insomnia is associated with increased odds of major cardiovascular diseases, according to a research letter published online Aug. 19 in Circulation.

Susanna Larsson, Ph.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and Hugh Markus, M.D., from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, applied a Mendelian randomization design to examine the correlation between genetic liability for insomnia and major cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and ischemic stroke. Single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with insomnia complaints at genomewide significance were identified in studies of 1,331,010 individuals; 248 independent lead single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified.

The researchers found that in the multivariable Mendelian randomization analysis, genetic liability to insomnia was associated with significantly increased odds of coronary artery disease, heart failure, and ischemic stroke but not atrial fibrillation. After adjustment for smoking, depression, and education, the correlations persisted. For the correlation between genetic liability to insomnia and ischemic stroke subtypes, the odds ratios were 1.13 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.03 to 1.24; P = 0.01) for large-artery stroke, 1.08 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.99 to 1.17; P = 0.08) for small vessel stroke, and 1.06 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.99 to 1.14; P = 0.08) for embolic stroke.

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“It’s important to identify the underlying reason for insomnia and treat it,” Larsson said in a statement. “Sleep is a behavior that can be changed by new habits and stress management.”

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