Obstructive sleep apnea and heart disease may be linked by serum uric acid. There is much research to support a link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but the mechanisms behind this link are still unknown. Recent research suggests that serum levels of uric acid may act as a risk factor for heart disease in sleep apnea.
Dr. Asiye Kanbay from Istanbul Medeniyet University School of Medicine in Turkey evaluated the connection between serum levels of uric acid and heart disease.
The researchers recruited patients with obstructive sleep apnea who were questioned about cardiovascular comorbidity, including history or any formal diagnosis of coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular accident, congestive heart failure due to coronary artery disease, and arrhythmias. Information was also gathered about any diagnosis of diabetes and high blood pressure, any blood pressure medications, and body mass index. Blood chemistry panel, including serum levels of creatinine, alanine aminotransferase, and uric acid, was also performed on all patients.
Patients with severe sleep apnea were found to have higher uric acid serum levels, compared to patients with less severe OSA. Uric levels were associated with higher apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) score, and high blood pressure increased with an increase in sleep apnea severity.
Obstructive sleep apnea patients were more likely to experience or develop cardiovascular events, but this association was not seen among patients with other forms of sleep apnea. Patients with any level of OSA were also found to have higher uric acid serum levels if they experienced a cardiovascular event.
The researchers concluded that there is a strong link between high uric acid levels and obstructive sleep apnea. Patients should control uric acid levels as a means to prevent cardiovascular events.
When some foods are broken down, the protein turns into purines, which produce uric acid. Uric acid is typically released by the kidneys, but if the kidneys fail to do so – either due to poor function or simply because there is too much uric acid – this can result in a uric acid buildup within the body and lead to side effects.
Side effects of hyperuricemia (high uric acid) include:
Gout: A condition in which uric acid forms into crystals around joints, usually the big toe, resulting in swelling, redness, and pain.
Metabolic acidosis: A high level of uric acid in the blood, which can lead to rapid breathing, confusion, lethargy, shock, and even death.
Kidney stones: Uric acid can form into kidney stones if it does not leave the kidneys.
Kidney disease: Larger kidney stones can cause an obstruction as a result of which the waste cannot leave the kidneys, thus damaging the kidneys. Chronic damage to the kidneys can lead to kidney disease or worse, kidney failure.
Early risk of death: High uric acid levels have been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular events, particularly in men. This higher risk of cardiovascular events was tied to cardiovascular mortality in seniors.
You can reduce your risk of side effects by lowering your uric acid levels, which can be done by making simple modifications to your diet like reducing your intake of red meat and alcohol. Speak to your doctor about your uric acid levels as they could indicate a kidney or a heart problem, which could potentially be prevented if detected early on.