to a new study, people who are heavy snorers are at an increased risk of
developing rheumatoid arthritis
, a disease affecting over 21
million people worldwide. The results of the study have been published in the
journal Sleep Medicine.
belonging to Taiwan's Taipei Medical University found that those who had sleep
apnea had double the chances of acquiring rheumatoid arthritis compared to
those who did not snore. This information comes as a surprise, as rheumatoid
arthritis is normally associated with impairment in the immune system.
apnoea is characterized by pause in breathing while sleeping and is more common
in adults than in children. The risk factors for apnoea include age, obesity,
sedatives, smoking and alcohol consumption.
has been explained that chronic sleep apnoea leads to inflammation in blood
vessels present in the body and this acts as a catalyst or a trigger for the
development of arthritis.
compared 1,411 sleep apnoea patients against 7,000 healthy adults for over five
years. The subjects were continuously monitored for immune system related
conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing, spondylitis and systemic
lupus erythematous. The findings showed that the apnoea affected group had 91
percent more chances of developing any one of the three conditions.
the researchers pointed out that the absolute risk of falling ill was still
small. "Our study is the first to investigate the association between
sleep apnoea and the development of autoimmune diseases." "We think
this may have gone unnoticed in clinical settings because these cases are
relatively rare and may not be reported. But the potential link between the two
conditions should not be overlooked", the researchers stated in their
the diseases we studied, rheumatoid arthritis had the highest risk of
developing in sleep apnoea patients", they said.
people with sleep apnoea sleep, their airway muscles relax, which disrupts
breathing and triggers the sound of snoring. This normally wakes them up
causing sleep disturbance, which can result in inflammation in blood vessels.
arthritis (RA) is a chronic, autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation of
joints and the surrounding tissues. It mostly manifests itself during middle
age and is more common in women than in men. Infections, hormonal changes and
genetic factors play a role in bringing about RA.