With expanded financial support from Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc, the American Heart Association is launching an initiative to provide the sleep disorder community with an understanding of the cardiovascular risks associated with sleep disorders. 

Through the initiative, the American Heart Association aims to help people with sleep disorders determine when professional help may be appropriate and healthcare professionals recognize ways to improve heart health for their patients.

Studies have shown that poor sleep quality and duration can be associated with high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, stroke, and heart attacks.

“With more than two decades of scientific research in complex and difficult-to-treat neurological conditions, we have long been at the forefront of providing therapies and support for patients living with rare and debilitating sleep disorders,” says Kelvin Tan, MB BCh, MRCPCH, senior vice president and chief medical officer of Jazz Pharmaceuticals, in a press release. “Based on our deep expertise in sleep disorders, we are keenly aware of their devastating impact on those diagnosed with these conditions. This is why we are committed to pioneering innovative treatment options for sleep disorders with the possibility to transform the lives of patients and their families.”

Because sleep quality and duration are now considered essential components for heart and brain health, the American Heart Association recently added sleep to its checklist for measuring cardiovascular health, evolving Life’s Simple 7 cardiovascular health score into Life’s Essential 8.

“Research continues to demonstrate that people with sleep disorders like narcolepsy may face even greater risk for heart disease and stroke than the general population,” said Mitch Elkind, M.D., M.S., FAHA, FAAN, chief clinical science officer at the American Heart Association. “As the scientific community continues to explore this important topic, it’s critical that people with sleep disorders and those who care for them recognize the connection and optimally manage the cardiovascular complications.”

Through this support, the American Heart Association will develop education for both patients and healthcare providers on the impact of sleep disorders on heart and brain health, as well as strategies for lowering the cardiovascular risks associated with sleep disorders. 

The association will also convene a science advisory panel of healthcare providers, produce a series of patient videos, and form an alliance of multiple sleep-focused advocacy organizations to develop a resource toolkit to expand the reach of the campaign’s education.

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