INSOMNIA and CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE in VETERANS with HIV

Insomnia or difficulty falling or staying asleep is common in the general population and has been found to be associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). The authors of this report used information from a large study of 3,104 US Veterans with HIV who have been under study for a numbers of years. They used information on insomnia divided by frequency from being “bothered a lot” to “no difficulty falling or staying asleep”. Also over 10 years they collected evidence of the onset of new CVD (Myocardial infarction, stroke, or coronary artery revascularization).

The study shows that insomnia was associated with about a 66 percent greater risk of new CVD on follow-up. Careful efforts were made to adjust this result for other variables that might explain the findings. These included known CVD risk factors, other possible diseases and conditions that might increase CVD, and indicators of the control of HIV, such as presence of virus or low CD4 counts.

This research finding indicates that management of a person’s insomnia can contribute to reduced levels of cardiovascular disease. The importance of this finding is that there are various ways and treatments available to manage insomnia. There are many options. And such management can help to lower the risk of new CVD events. This strategy would be an important addition to the prevention of CVD, especially because it is more common in older adults with HIV.

 

Polanka, B.M. et al.(2019) Insomnia as an Independent Predictor of Incident Cardiovascular disease in HIV: Data from the Veterans Aging Cohort Study.

J Acquir Immune Defi Syndr 81(2) pp 110 -117.