Your sleep habits may be putting you at risk for a heart attack

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Evidence grows by the day showing not getting enough sleep could take years off your life.  The fact is, we live in a fast paced world. People are working longer hours. When they're not on the job, they're up into the wee hours some are working online. Some stay up late just to squeeze in some personal time.

For many, sleep deprivation has become an accepted part of their daily lives. But, at what cost?

According to Dr. C. Andrew Smith of Louisiana Cardiology Associates in Baton Rouge, "When you don't sleep enough your stress hormones are raised and when those are elevated you can have increased of heart attack and then blood pressure tends to elevate."

Research shows people who don't get a good six hours of sleep a night are nearly 50% more likely to develop heart disease. High blood pressure increases the odds of stroke.  Here's the scary part. It doesn't happen overnight.

Smith says, "A lot of heart issues we see are because somebody has had hypertension or diabetes for 20 years and after 20 years of having that issue that's when you have the problems."

In other words, you may be getting by on a few hours of sleep now. But down the road you may not be so lucky. You could setting yourself up for a killer heart attack.  Not everyone who isn't getting enough rest at night is burning the candle at both ends. Some may be trying to get the sleep they need, but can't. They may have a condition called sleep apnea that also increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke. To find out more about that and what you can do to fix it, click on the link below.

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