You probably already know that when it comes to sleep disorders, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is an issue to be reckoned with. This condition serves as a gateway to a variety of health problems, including heart failure, stroke, and cancer. On that long list is another dangerous issue – osteoporosis. This condition is basically your bones growing weak and brittle due to loss of density.
Following are some of the possible ways in which OSA can lead to bone loss.
- Apneas cause the oxygen level in the body to drop (hypoxia), which can drive up osteoclast activity and consequently raise bone re-absorption. Hypoxia induces the release of HIF, which assist cells in surviving the lack of oxygen. The problem though, is that one of the hormones, HIF-1α, stimulates the breaking down of bones. This even increases risk of cancer.
- OSA patients generally have a lot of inflammation, which in an indirect way is bad for their bone densities. The joints are among the most badly affected by this particular problem.
- Sleep stages and circadian factors have been seen to affect bone turnover too. For instance, Leptin, or the appetite hormone, tells you when you are full. OSA patients by and large have higher levels of this hormone in their systems, which inhibit serotonin production. This too adversely affects bone density.
- OSA patients are seen to have much less Vitamin D in their bodies, as well as lower bone mineral density. This sufficiently explains the higher hip fracture rates among people of this category.
- OSA is known to inhibit some hormones, such as TSH, which stimulate thyroid hormone emission, leutenizing hormone (LH), testosterone, and growth hormone (GH). The last one gets secreted chiefly during deep sleep, but OSA upsets this.
- OSA degrades sleep quality and shortens sleep duration, and both of these things have been shown to cause issues like mild cognitive impairment, frailty, and depression.
- Prolonged use of acid reducing medications has been seen to raise the probability of fractures, by at least 35%. On the other hand, lower acid levels impede calcium absorption, which is bad for the bones.
These are just some of the ways in which OSA could cause your bones to become fragile over the long term. The best way to deal with this is through the use of snoring solutions signed off by a specialist or expert, such as a sleep apnea mouth guard, for instance.