This might surprise you, but it is a fact that the most common time to have a heart attack or a stroke is 6.30 am.
Scientists now think that they have found out why is this so; and it is all down to the body clock.
It was discovered by the researchers that levels of a protein in people’s blood that slows the breakdown of clots peaks at 6.30 am.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s team along with Oregon Health and Science University had a look into why the number of heart attacks and strokes peak in the morning. In their study it was shown that the protein levels in the bodies of 12 healthy adult volunteers for two weeks. In this study the participants were assessed while their daily routines were desynchronized from their natural body clocks.
This was done with the aim of establishing whether it is the natural body clock or the person’s activities that causes protein levels to fluctuate. Moreover there were specific changes studied by the researchers. They studied the changes in the body’s level of the protein, Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) that inhibits the breakdown of blood clots. These are huge contributors of some strokes and heart attack. In the journal Blood, the research was published finding a strict rhythm in body’s level of PAI-1 with a peak at about 6.30 am.
The author of this study Dr Frank Scheer, and director of the Medical Chronobiology Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital said, ‘Our findings suggest that the circadian system, or the internal body clock, contributes to the increased risk for cardiovascular events in the morning.’
Dr Steven Shea, Dr Frank Scheer’s colleague and co-author, as well as the director of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, added, ‘Our findings indicate that the human circadian system causes a morning peak in circulating levels of PAI-1 that are independent of any behavioral or environmental influences.
Yet, the circadian system determined to a large extent the PAI-1 rhythm observed during a regular sleep and wake cycle.
The morning peaks in PAI-1 were able to help in explaining the adverse cardiovascular events in vulnerable individuals.
Researchers added that these studies established the circadian control* of PAI-1 in healthy individuals; and that future research is required to test whether this rhythm is amplified or blunted or even shifted in vulnerable individuals like those with obesity, cardiovascular disease or diabetes.