Sleep apnea linked with higher fracture risk among women, finds study
Studies in the past have revealed that Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may be an unrecognized cause of secondary osteoporosis.
Researchers have found in a new study that that women with a history of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may face a higher risk of spine, or vertebral, fractures.The emerging evidence suggests that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may negatively affect bone health. The results from the new study have been published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.
Recent studies suggest a positive association between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a disorder associated with intermittent hypoxia and sleep fragmentation, and derangements in bone metabolism. However, no prospective study to date has investigated the association between OSA and fracture risk in women. We conducted a prospective study examining the relation between OSA and risk of incident vertebral fracture (VF) and hip fracture (HF) in the Nurses' Health Study.
Using information from the Nurses' Health Study, investigators examined data pertaining to 55,264 women without a prior history of bone fractures. OSA was self-reported in 1.3% of participants in 2002 and increased to 3.3% by 2012. Between 2002 and 2014, 461 vertebral fractures and 921 hip fractures occurred.
Women with a history of OSA had a 2-fold higher risk of vertebral fracture relative to those with no OSA history, with the strongest association observed for OSA associated with daytime sleepiness. No association was observed between OSA history and risk of hip fracture.
"Our study provides important evidence at the population level that obstructive sleep apnea may have an adverse impact on bone health that is particularly relevant to the development of vertebral fracture," said lead author Tianyi Huang, ScD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Given that we used self-reported clinical diagnoses of sleep apnea and fracture in our study, future studies could use more deeply characterized data to further the understanding of the mechanisms linking sleep apnea to bone health and fracture risk."