Poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of potentially life-threatening disease flare-ups in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), according to a new study.

People with COPD have lung conditions that block airflow and make it harder to breathe. There are two main types of COPDemphysema and chronic bronchitis — and many people experience both, per the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Researchers did sleep assessments for 1,647 patients with COPD and then followed them over three years to see how often they had flare-ups that required treatment.

Compared with people who slept well, those with mild sleep problems were 25 percent more likely to have COPD flare-ups, according to the study's results, reported June 6 in the journal Sleep. Patients with the most severely insufficient or interrupted sleep were almost twice as likely to experience disease flare-ups.

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