A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) reveals that a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea may increase the risk of osteoarthritis, especially among older adults or women. The retrospective cohort study utilized records from Taiwan’s single-payer National Health Insurance program to track the treatment of 1,377 individuals diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea between 2000 and 2008.

Over the course of the next 6 years, the researchers compared the rate of osteoarthritis diagnosis in this group of obstructive sleep apnea patients to 20,655 people comparable in age and gender who did not have the sleep disorder.

The results of the study showed that the incidence of osteoarthritis was 2.7 times higher among patients with sleep apnea than their counterparts, which the researchers note was after adjusting for gender, age, geographic location, monthly income, and other medical problems. Women and older adults faced the increased risk of developing the condition.

Kai-Jen Tien, MD, one of the authors of the study, states, “As more and more people are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea worldwide, both patients and health care providers need to be aware of the heightened risk of developing other conditions. We need to pay more attention to the relationship between sleep apnea and bone health so we can identify strategies to prevent osteoarthritis.”

Source: Endocrine Society