Heavy snorers ''at greater risk of rheumatoid arthritis''
People who snore are more than twice as likely as non-snorers
to develop rheumatoid arthritis, a study has revealed.
Researchers in Taiwan found patients diagnosed with sleep apnoea -
a condition related to snoring - were nearly twice as likely to
suffer this type of arthritis.
The joint-damaging disease is thought to be triggered when a
person's immune system experiences problems.
Conducted by experts at the Taipei Medical University, the study
involved some 1,411 sleep apnoea patients, who were compared to a
group of 7,000 healthy adults.
It took place over a period of five years and the researchers
recorded how many in each group developed rheumatoid arthritis,
ankylosing spondylitis and systemic lupus erythematous.
In a report on the findings of the study, the researchers said:
"Our study is the first to investigate the association between
sleep apnoea and the development of autoimmune diseases."
"We think this may have gone unnoticed in clinical settings
because these cases are relatively rare and may not be reported,"
The researchers went on to stress that the potential link between
sleep apnoea and autoimmune diseases - particularly rheumatoid
arthritis - should not be overlooked.
According to the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association,
some 41.5 per cent of the UK adult population snore, which means
there are around 15 million snorers across the nation.
The majority of snorers (58 per cent) are aged between 50 and
Some instances of snoring are caused by allergies to things
commonly found in the average bed: the house dust mite and feather
Allergies to pet hair can also cause some people to snore, but
this and the other allergies mentioned can be treated with nasal
Sleep apnoea is a condition where a person's breathing stops when
they are asleep. This automatically forces the person to wake up,
so that they start breathing again.
Posted by Michael Ewing