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6 Unexpected Health Problems That Can Cause Insomnia: A Harvard Health Report


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Insomnia and its Impact on Health

Periodic bouts of insomnia may come and go without causing major problems. However, for some individuals, insomnia can persist for months or even years, significantly affecting their quality of life and overall health.

Unexpected Health Problems That Can Cause Insomnia

While insomnia is prevalent, its underlying causes are not always clear. According to a health report published by Harvard Health, there are six unexpected health problems that can make it difficult to sleep:

1. Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious disease that often goes unnoticed due to its subtle symptoms. Individuals with diabetes, who have poor blood sugar control, may experience sleep problems such as night sweats and frequent urination. Nerve damage in the legs can also disrupt sleep by causing nocturnal movements or pain. If you experience any symptoms of diabetes, it is crucial to consult your GP as soon as possible.

2. Heart Failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot effectively pump blood to the body. While it primarily affects older individuals, it can also impact younger people. The gradual onset of heart failure can lead to fluid buildup around the lungs, causing patients to wake up at night feeling short of breath. Some strategies recommended by scientists at Harvard University include elevating the upper body with pillows and using sleeping pills to combat breathing difficulties. Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, fatigue, fainting, and ankle swelling.

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3. Arthritis

Arthritis causes joint pain and inflammation, making it challenging for individuals to sleep. Additionally, medications used to treat arthritis and stimulants can often cause insomnia. If you have arthritis and struggle with sleep, your doctor may suggest taking aspirin or an anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) before bed to alleviate pain and swelling.

4. Kidney Disease

Kidney disease occurs when the organs responsible for filtering waste from the blood do not function properly. This can lead to insomnia or restless leg syndrome symptoms due to the accumulation of unwanted fluids in the blood. Even after dialysis or a kidney transplant, sleep may not return to normal, and the exact reason for this is still unknown. Symptoms of kidney disease include fatigue, swollen ankles, nausea, shortness of breath, and blood in the urine.

5. Nighttime Urination (Nocturia)

If you consume a significant amount of water before bed, you may experience nocturia, which is frequent urination at night. Nocturia is a common cause of sleep deprivation, particularly among the elderly. Mild cases involve waking up at least twice a night, while severe cases can result in waking up five or six times. Nocturia can be a by-product of aging or a symptom of various medical conditions such as heart failure, diabetes, urinary tract infections, prostate enlargement, liver failure, multiple sclerosis, and sleep apnea. It is advisable to consult a doctor if you suspect you may be suffering from nocturia.

6. Thyroid Gland Diseases

An overactive thyroid can disrupt sleep patterns. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone, leading to overstimulation of the nervous system. This can cause feelings of panic and restlessness, making it difficult to sleep. Night sweats can also be a symptom of an overactive thyroid. If you experience unexplained symptoms, it is essential to undergo a simple blood test to diagnose thyroid gland dysfunction. Therefore, consulting a doctor is recommended.

Source: Sun

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