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Is lack of sleep affecting your bones?

Bone health may be connected to sleep apenea
Bone health may be connected to sleep apeneaGetty Images

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes repeated, brief interruptions in breathing during sleep.

Now a new study has found that people who suffer from sleep apnea may be at increased risk for the bone-thinning disease, osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a medical disorder where the bones become brittle and fragile. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine.

The risk of osteoporosis is especially found in women and the senior population, but sleep apnea at any age can contribute the problem.

"When sleep apnea periodically deprives the body of oxygen, it can weaken bones and raise the risk of osteoporosis," according to researchers of this study. "The progressive condition can lead to bone fractures.”

Take Action

This study indicates that osteoporosis rates increased among people with breathing disorders.

So if you think you might have sleep apnea, talk to your health care professional.

If you have already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are several treatment options you can discuss with your doctor including:

  • mouthpieces
  • breathing devices (CPAP -continuous positive airway pressure- is the most common treatment)
  • lifestyle changes including weight loss (even a little weight loss can improve symptoms)

I addition, there are many steps you can take to help keep your bones strong and slow down bone loss: For example:

  • eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D
  • calcium and vitamin D supplements may also be helpful
  • make lifestyle changes, such as not smoking or drinking alcohol in excess
  • consistent exercise increases bone strength in most people