Monday, March 23, 2009

Is Dozing During Daytime a Sign of Stroke or Even Heart Attack?

It is not uncommon to find people especially those older ones easily doze off during daytime. However, this may not be a healthy sign as this group of people is at high risk of getting stroke, as indicated by a study by United States researchers.

In the paper presented on February 21, 2008 at an American Stroke Association conference in New Orleans, researchers from Columbia University in New York reported that older people who easily doze off during the day have at least 4 times more likely to have a stroke. These people were also at a higher risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.

Even after the researchers took consideration for things like diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, physical activity and socioeconomic status, these people were much more likely to end up with stroke.

The study involved 2,153 adults with an average age of 73. The participants were mostly Hispanic men and women aged over 40 and lived in the same community in New York City. None of them had suffered a stroke.

It was found that those classified as doing 'some dozing' during the day had a risk of stroke that was 2.6 times greater for those with 'no dozing', and those who were in the 'significant dozing' group had a 4.5 times greater risk.

Questions on how often these participants dozed in specific situations such as watching TV, sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol and stopping briefly in traffic while driving were asked. The findings shown that some 44 percent reported no dozing, 47 percent had some dozing and 9 percent reported significant dozing.

The researchers checked again after 2 and half years later to see how many of these participants had strokes or other vascular or heart disease problems like heart attack. 40 strokes and 127 other vascular or heart disease events were detected.

The researchers were not sure what causes the daytime sleepiness and whether this is related with sleep apnea. In fact, other studies have already found that people with sleep apnea who briefly stop breathing throughout the night are at high risk of stroke. Sleep apnea can cause daytime sleepiness too. They believe further investigation is necessary.

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