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Sleep Apnea and Osteoporosis

New research from Taiwan suggests that people with sleep apnea have nearly three times the normal risk of osteoporosis, particularly if they’re female and older. Sleep apnea isn't just snoring and frequent waking, it's a serious, potentially life-threatening disorder that causes interruptions of breathing during sleep. It may increase risks of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. The research team spent six years following 1,377 patients in Taiwan who were diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, as well as 20,655 people without the sleep disorder. The investigators found that new cases of osteoporosis were 2.7 times higher among sleep apnea patients, than among people without the sleep disorder. This increased risk held true even after such factors as concurrent medical problems, age and gender were taken into account. Researcher Kai-Jen Tien, M.D., of Chi Mei Medical Center in Tainan, opined that when sleep apnea periodically deprives the body of oxygen, “it can weaken bones and raise the risk of osteoporosis.” The study was published online on April 15, 2014, in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Kai-Jen Tien et al, “Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Risk of Osteoporosis: A Population-Based Cohort Study in Taiwan,” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, DOI: 10.1210/jc.2014-1718

Why You Shouldn’t Ever Quit Exercising

Here’s another good reason to continue exercising as you get older: it helps keep muscles strong and protects against sarcopenia, an age-related disease resulting in the loss of skeletal muscle mass and muscle strength or function that can lead to disability, poor quality of life and premature death. Researchers at Tokyo University assessed the prevalence of sarcopenia and its effects on physical performance in 1,000 Japanese men and women, age 65 and older enrolled in an ongoing study of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. The investigators measured the participants’ handgrip strength, gait speed, and skeletal muscle mass and collected information on their midlife exercise habits. They found sarcopenia in 13.8 of the men and 12.4 of the women, but the condition was less prevalent in study participants who reported exercising in middle age. In addition, the researchers said that midlife exercise was significantly associated with measures of grip strength, gait speed and one-leg standing after adjusting for age, sex and BMI. The study was presented at the International Osteoporosis Foundation Regionals 4th Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting, in Hong Kong December 12–15, 2013.

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