What did we learn from the last day of the American College of Cardiology's (ACC) 72nd Scientific Session & Expo? Find out.
The last day of the American College of Cardiology's 72nd Scientific Session & Expo featured novel treatment options and emerging insights on cardiovascular care. Here are some of the latest updates.
Getting Good Sleep Could Add Years to Your Life
Can getting a good night’s rest have long-term benefits for your health? According to new research, getting good sleep may support your heart health and overall well-being. A recent study conducted on young people showed that those with better sleep habits were less likely to die early. The data also suggested that eight percent of any deaths could be a result of poor sleep patterns.
The characteristics of the study included:
- 172,321 people
- Average age 50
- 54 percent women
- Two-thirds of the patients were White
- 14.5 percent Hispanic
- 12.6 percent Black
- 5.5 percent Asian
During the study, participants were followed for an average of 4.3 years. During this time, 8,681 patients died with 30 percent occurring from cardiovascular disease, 24 percent from cancer, and 46 percent due to other causes. As part of the survey, researchers collected answers from participants using a low-risk sleep score of five different factors of quality of sleep, which included ideal sleep duration of seven to eight hours a night, difficulty falling asleep no more than two times a week, trouble staying asleep no more than two times a week, not using any sleep medication, and feeling well rested after waking up at least five days a week. Other factors that may have increased the chances of death in participants were lower socioeconomic status, smoking and alcohol consumption, and other medical conditions.
One limitation to be accounted for of the study is that participants self-reported their sleep habits instead of having them measured or verified. There was also no information reported about the types of sleep aid or medicine participants may have been using.
Investigating the Link Between Long COVID & Heart Problems
About one in seven individuals experience lasting symptoms months after initially catching COVID-19, which is often referred to as long COVID. And according to a recent study presented at the 2023 American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session, long COVID can increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular issues by more than 50 percent.
The research involved a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of 11 major studies. Out of the 5.8 million people included in the studies, close to 450,000 experienced cardiac complications, the rate of which was 2.3 to 2.5 times higher among those with long COVID than those without.
Additionally, researchers found that patients with long COVID were significantly more likely to experience chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, fatigue, and other symptoms associated with heart problems. Markers of heart disease or elevated cardiovascular risk were also more likely to be seen in medical imaging and diagnostic tests done on those with long COVID.
Although the potential biological mechanisms behind the link between long COVID and heart complications were not investigated, researchers believe that chronic inflammation could be a factor. However, due to the lack of long-term data, it’s difficult to determine a definitive conclusion.
Based on these results, researchers emphasized that COVID-19 isn’t just a respiratory disease; it’s a syndrome that can affect the heart, so clinicians and patients alike should be on the lookout for any signs of new heart problems, especially after contracting COVID-19.