For the aged, daytime doze not such a good idea

February 22nd, 2008 - 12:33 pm ICT by admin  

New York, Feb 22 (IANS) Researchers have zeroed in what they call a “novel risk factor” for strokes, especially among the elderly: dozing during the day. A study by researchers at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons has found that stroke risk was two- to four-fold greater in those with moderate dozing habits.

According to the study’s lead author Bernadette Boden-Albala, this suggests that daytime dozing “may be an important and novel stroke risk factor”.

Findings of the study were reported Thursday at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2008.

For the purposes of the study, dozing refers to a person unintentionally falling asleep.

Among the study’s 2,153 participants, the risk of stroke was seen to be 2.6 times greater for those classified as doing “some dozing” compared to those with “no dozing”.

Those classified in the “significant dozing” group had a 4.5 times higher risk.

“Those are significant numbers,” said Boden-Albala. “We were surprised that the impact was that high for such a short period of time.”

In the past, sleep scientists have found evidence that people who experience apnea - brief periods when breathing stops during sleep - have an increased stroke risk.

Research indicates that daytime sleepiness can result from sleeping poorly because of night-time apnea.

After controlling for several stroke risk factors - age, race-ethnicity, sex, education, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and physical activity - they found unexpectedly high stroke risks for the “some dozing” and “significant dozing” groups compared to “no dozing”.

The risk of a heart attack or vascular death was higher - 1.6 percent for moderate dozers and 2.6 percent for significant dozers.

“Given what’s known now, it’s worth assessing patients for sleep problems,” Boden-Albala said. “If patients are moderately or significantly dozing, physicians need to think about sending them for further evaluation.”

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