Morning heart attacks are 'more severe'
Written By: Abbie Smith
New research has found that people who have a heart attack in the morning will suffer from approximately 20 per cent more damage to their heart tissue than if they had a heart attack at any other time of the day.
Scientists believe that having a heart attack between the hours of 6am and noon is more serious because it is linked to the body’s natural sleep/awake cycle.
It is already an established fact that the body’s 24-hour clock can influence heart attack risk, as people are more likely to have a heart attack when they are waking up from sleep.
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However, until the new findings were published in the journal Heart, it was unclear what affect a morning heart attack had on the body.
As part of the study, Spanish researchers analysed data from 811 patients who had experienced a heart attack and split them into four different categories according to the time at which the heart attack occurred.
They then measured the amount of dead tissue that was left after the heart attack by looking at the amount of certain enzymes in their blood.
The research team found that the patients in the ‘morning’ heart attack group had the highest levels of an enzyme that is an indicator of dying heart tissue.
Scientists believe that this result is an indication that morning heart attacks cause the most damage and result in the largest area of dead tissue.
Doctors are unsure why having a heart attack in the morning is more severe than having it in the afternoon or evening, but they believe it could link to natural changes that occur in the body.
Things like blood pressure and blood sugar levels have higher levels of concentration in the morning, and there is also a suspicion that the trend could be because people who experience chest pains at night do not seek help until the following morning.
Judy O’Sullivan, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study provides some interesting observations. However further research is needed.”
She also said that regardless of the time of day, the quicker someone who is having a heart attack is treated the damage to their heart tissue will be reduced.