This sleep problem linked to higher risk of gout

In a recent study, researchers find that people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have a higher risk of developing gout.

OSA is associated with a range of serious comorbidities, and previous study has shown that people with OSA have a higher risk of developing gout in the first year after diagnosis.

In the current study, researchers examined whether they may also be more likely to develop gout over a longer term.

They examined information on 15,879 patients with OSA and 63,296 without, with a median follow-up of 5.8 years.

The team found that during follow-up, 4.9% of OSA and 2.6% of non-OSA patients developed gout. There is a 42% increased risk among OSA patients.

An higher risk of developing gout was observed throughout follow-up for OSA patients, but it was highest 1-2 years after diagnosis of OSA.

This finding was seen in patients with normal body mass index as well as those who were overweight or obese; however, the risk was greater in those with normal weight.

The team suggests that people with sleep apnea are at an increased risk of gout in both the short and long term.

It is possible that intermittent oxygen deficiency due to OSA leads to over- production of uric acid, which causes gout.

This risk was highest in people with normal body weight, and doctors should consider the possibility of gout in patents with sleep apnea regardless of BMI.

The team also suggests that sleep apnea is commonly treated with continuous positive airways pressure—or CPAP—therapy.

Since CPAP treatment corrects low oxygen levels it might also be expected to reduce uric acid levels, which could possibly reduce the risk of developing gout or treat existing gout.

The research team is led by Edward Roddy, DM and Milica Blagojevic-Bucknall, Ph.D., of Keele University in the UK.

The study is published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology.

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Source: Arthritis & Rheumatology.