Got Gout? Sleep Apnea may be to blame

Got Gout? Sleep apnea may be to blame.

You’re sleeping peacefully. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, you are jolted awake by searing pain in your big toe.  It is an attack of gout, a painful form of arthritis that usually affects your toes and feet. Excess uric acid in the blood crystalizes to form needle-like structures inside the joints. Ouch!

If you suffer from gout, you probably already guessed that your risk of an attack goes up at night. Last December, research proved you right. Researchers found that gout attacks were more than twice as likely to occur between the hours of midnight and 8am.

Now, new research has uncovered a strong link between gout and sleep apnea. The study showed that the risk of developing gout was 60 percent higher in people with sleep apnea. This held true even when researchers controlled for things like weight and age.

Scientists are not entirely sure why the link between sleep apnea and gout is so strong, but they do have some theories. As you may know, in sleep apnea night breathing is restricted or disrupted. This often causes an oxygen shortage in the body, which may contribute to a buildup of even more uric acid in your bloodstream.

The good news is that sleep apnea and gout are both treatable. Alleviating one problem may actually help alleviate the other.