Is sleep apnea worse in people with rheumatoid arthritis?

At a recent conference of the American College of Rheumatology, research was presented regarding the incidence of sleep apnea in people with rheumatoid arthritis.  Many people complain of poor sleep who  have arthritic pain.  Joint problems and finding a comfortable position during sleep are often the cause.  However, it has been found that cartilage changes can contribute to the airflow in the nasal passages which can result in sleep apnea and therefore people with rheumatoid arthritis experience sleep apnea at a greater rate than the general public.  As a result of having sleep apnea,  a person can waken feeling less rested and not be aware of the reduced oxygen they are receiving while they are sleep.

If you are having difficulty sleeping and feel unrested when you waken, ask your doctor about referring you for a sleep apnea assessment.


Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health.  Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.

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