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Open Access Circadian Misalignment and Cardiovascular Risk

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All organisms, ranging from single-celled organisms to humans, demonstrate circadian rhythms that are near 24-h patterns that are present independent of environmental cues. Disruption of this process, called circadian misalignment, is associated with deleterious health outcomes. The most extreme example of this misalignment is shift work, and there is evidence suggesting a strong association between shift work and certain cardiovascular outcomes. The outcomes of most studies include obesity, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillation, and cardiovascular events. In this article we review the current literature with an emphasis on women’s cardiovascular health. The data are conflicting, and there is a paucity of robust evidence with regard to women’s cardiovascular health and circadian misalignment. More studies are needed to better delineate the sex differences as well as the pathophysiology of the associations between circadian misalignment and cardiovascular diseases so that we can provide patients with more personalized care.
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Keywords: shift work; circadian misalignment; metabolic syndrome; cardiovascular; women; sex

Affiliations: University of Florida Medical School, Gainesville, FL, USA,

Appeared or available online: 16 January 2019

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