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Is Sleep Apnea One of the Causes of Gout? | Cure Gout Now

Is Sleep Apnea One of the Causes of Gout?


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There are many different potential triggers for gout that you should be aware of if you suffer from the condition.  One of the potential triggers that we’ve been asked about recently is sleep apnea.  It may seem as though these two conditions are completely unrelated, but in reality, they are connected.  The connection was first noticed when sleep apnea patients received treatment for their disorder and they noticed their gout symptoms simultaneously improved.

The reason for this link is believed to be the reduction in blood oxygen during apnea episodes, causing cell disintegration in the body and the generation of uric acid in the bloodstream.  The cause of gout is, after all, the presence of uric acid crystals in the joints.  Furthermore, during apnea there is an increase in the carbon dioxide percentage within the blood, making the blood’s acidity level higher and increasing the risk of uric acid precipitation as monosodium urate.  This can collect in the joints and can even lead to an increased risk of developing kidney stones.

This effect is very similar to what happens within the cells when excess alcohol is consumed. And it should be noted that drinking alcohol can cause sleep apnea to become more pronounced.  Therefore, gout sufferers with sleep apnea have two major reasons to avoid drinking alcohol. 

Other links between sleep apnea and gout include show up in the fact that not only are primary gout sufferers demographically the same as the primary sleep apnea sufferers (middle-aged, overweight men), but sleep apnea and gout are also both much more common among women who have been through menopause.  Also, both gout and sleep apnea are associated with people who have a larger neck circumference. 

Most notably, though, is that gout attacks are the most common while asleep, indicating that sleep has an impact on gout attacks and sleep disturbances and conditions may also influence the causes of gout attacks.

Until recently, gout and sleep apnea have been treated separately.  However, many sleep apnea patients who implement treatments for that condition find that their gout improves at the same time.

The treatments for sleep apnea include preventative actions, such as avoiding sleeping on one’s back.  When sleeping on the back, the airway can become constricted and is more likely to close, causing the oxygen levels in the blood to be lower than in other sleeping positions. Therefore, changing the way you sleep can help to prevent gout attacks simply by increasing the overall blood oxygen level. Other sleep apnea treatments can include a pressurized CPAP mask or surgery. 

No matter the final remedy, improvements to a patients sleep apnea problem ensures that blood oxygen levels remain high, minimizing uric acid and monosodium urate precipitation and therefore gout flare ups.

So, if you’re suffering from gout, you may want to check to make sure that you are not also suffering from sleep apnea, as it may be one of the causes of gout aggravations in your body. Then you will be able to look into both sleep apnea treatments and remedies for the gout itself. Speak to your physician about undergoing a sleep study to determine if you have sleep apnea or not.

If you’ve suffered from a gout attack or two now is the time to take action to stop the attacks in their tracks and discover effective preventative steps before your uric acid levels get out of hand.


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5 Responses

  1. Noel Pinder
    June 5th, 2008 | 8:36 pm

    Hi,
    Male aged sixty fit but drinks and eats a good but relatively high purine diet. I have just had knee replacement surgery hugely complicated by gout in the same foot (as knee!). Treatment after knee surgery required Diclofenac and paracetemol (my normal gout first aid) but also soluble aspirin. As we know injury (the op) and aspirin both gout triggers. Four doctors and an equal number of nurses ignored my feeble pleas of gout,I had had a very bad trip on the morphine drip, and they came up with infection and/or DVT as the problem. The consultant has now agreed that they did not listen to me and the next knee will be handled differently. My gout has been brought under control with steroids, problem they can degrade the immune system. So folks if you are susceptible to gout sort out a plan pre-op!

  2. rita
    June 6th, 2008 | 5:27 am

    What is sleep apnea? and the symptoms

  3. June 6th, 2008 | 10:11 am

    Hi Noel - thanks for sharing your experiences about your knee operation. I hope you\’re making a good recovery! Great advice for any fellow gout sufferers in the same situation now or in the future.

    Rita
    Thanks for your question.
    Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder where your breathing pauses or you only take shallow breaths during sleep.

    The pauses may be a few seconds or a couple of minutes in duration and can occur up to 30 times or more an hour. Usually a loud snort or choking sound when normal breathing starts again. You may find that you wake up yourself or your partner when this happens.

    Sleep apnea is usually an ongoing condition that disrupts your sleep regularly, breaking your deep sleep cycle.

    This leads poor quality of sleep and sufferers often feel tired during the day.

    If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea speak to your doctor about a sleep test as it\’s important not to ignore this.

  4. Sandy Halliday
    June 6th, 2008 | 2:36 pm

    It just goes to show that everything that is going on in the body is so intertwined that you can rarely say the cause is just one thing. Most health problems are due to a number of factors. Poor food choices and lifestyle factors are high on the list.
    A detox diet that is high in foods that helps to keep the body alkaline works wonders for many health problems.

  5. Frans
    June 8th, 2008 | 5:36 pm

    Thanks for the great advice on your site, i have been suffering from gout for the last 2 years on a regular basis , up to 2 attacks a month, have had various treatments but nothing seemed to have helped. Iwas in constant pain and felt like old age is here to stay, Iam 58
    I tried all sorts of medication, including purinol. I finaly landed up with a Reumatologist that treated me for a month, including purinol 300mg per day, and gladly say it seems to work, I have no more pain and feel like 30 again, but yes I found out that sleep disorder contributed as about every morning after a bad night sleep my gout seemed worst.
    I have now been gout free for a month !! and also sleep much better

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