People with sleep apnea have higher chances of developing gout, a new study suggests.
Researchers analyzed data on nearly 16,000 people with sleep apnea and more than 63,000 people without apnea who were followed for a median of nearly six years. (Half were followed longer, half for less time.)
Overall, 4.9 percent of sleep apnea patients and 2.6 percent of the others developed gout. People with sleep apnea had a 42 percent higher risk of gout, the study found.
People with sleep apnea are at an increased risk of gout in both the short and long term. Since this risk was highest in people with normal body mass index, doctors and other health professionals should consider the possibility of gout in patients with sleep apnea regardless of body mass index.
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.