A recent study out of the UK has shown risk of developing gout was up to 60% higher among patients with sleep apnea versus individuals without sleep apnea. Gout is a complex form of arthritis that causes the body to make an excess of uric acid causing pain at the base of the joints. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder defined as the unconscious stoppage of breathing for short periods of time throughout a night’s sleep.
Sleep apnea is associated with hyperuricemia – an excess of uric acid, which is the primary cause of gout. For the study, researchers collected data from patients from the Health Improvement Network in the UK. 9,865 patients with sleep apnea were selected along with 43,598 patients without sleep apnea who were used as controls.
Researchers then analyzed incidences of gout in relation to sleep apnea. By the follow-up date, 270 gout cases had developed. Incidence rate was 8.4/1,000 person-years for individuals with sleep apnea and 4.8/1,000 person-years for those without.
In conclusion, the study showed intermittent hypoxia and metabolic abnormalities affect uric acid levels in sleep apnea patients who do not receive treatment.
Gout is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness and tenderness in joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe. An attack of gout can occur suddenly, often waking you up in the middle of the night with the sensation that your big toe is on fire. The affected joint is hot, swollen and so tender that even the weight of the sheet on it may seem intolerable.
About Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder defined as the unconscious stoppage of breathing for short periods of time throughout a night’s sleep. With OSA, there is a soft tissue obstruction of the upper airway, which negatively impacts the flow of air.
Pauses in breathing can be just a few seconds to minutes, and occur as little as five to as many as 30 times per hour. OSA is further characterized as a partial reduction (hypopnea) to complete pauses (apnea) in breathing that can last longer than 10 seconds. Depending upon the number of times per hour these episodes are experienced during the course of a night, the severity is classified as mild, moderate or severe.
Regardless of the severity of OSA, airflow and breathing are negatively impacted. With no or little air freely flowing to the lungs, there is a decrease in oxygen levels in the blood. Therefore, if not diagnosed or treated, it comes as no surprise that OSA is a debilitating and life-shortening condition that can impact a person’s life.
Early recognition and diagnosis of sleep conditions will significantly improve the quality of care given to a patient. Treating patients sleep conditions will lower their associated risks for more serious medical maladies significantly. If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, been diagnosed or would like to find out how you can avoid the high risk of developing other conditions, contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a consultation.