So you thought you knew what causes hardening of arteries … think again
So you thought you knew what causes hardening of arteries … think again 7 Feb 2019
The standard theory of heart disease states that fatty foods cause the arteries to "clog up" and narrow, which is a major feature of cardiovascular disease. Researchers have discovered that a lack of sleep seem to have more to do with hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) than a fatty diet. Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis can cause a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which causes them to stiffen and eventually close.
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital now think that hardening of arteries has more to do with a "neuro-immune axis" linking sleep to the cardiovascular system. Sleep helps regulate the production of inflammatory cells and maintain healthy blood vessels, and so it would follow that lack of sleep has the reverse effect.
The researchers demonstrated the effect on a group of laboratory mice. Although the cholesteral levels of sleep deprived ice remained the same, they developed larger arterial plaques and had double the number of inflammatory cells known to contribute to hardening of arteries.
Tall AR, Jelic S. How broken sleep promotes cardiovascular disease. Nature. 2019 Feb;566(7744):329-330