Sleep Apnea is characterized by repeated stops and starts of breathing during sleep. While there are several different types, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common and is a potentially serious disorder. The most common warning signal is snoring although not everyone who snores has SA.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea happens when the muscles in the back of the throat relax to the extent that they don't allow for normal breathing. This can narrow the airways and not allow for adequate breathing for 20 or 30 seconds. The lack of oxygen in the blood can drop so low, the brain will sense the inability to breathe and wake the person up; but usually not enough that they even remember.

Often times, those experiencing SA will snore loudly, be sleepy during the day, be startled awake with shortness of breath, have a hard time staying asleep, and frequent urination at night.

It is possible for anyone to develop SA, however, there are a few indicators that may signal increased risk:

- Excess Weight or Obesity
- High Blood Pressure
- Diabetes
- More common in men
- More common with middle age and older
- The use of alcohol
- Smoking

The greatest concern involving Sleep Apnea is Cardiovascular Problems. Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels increase blood pressure and cardiovascular strain. Approximately 50 percent of people develop High Blood Pressure which increases the risk of Heart Attack and Stroke.

These individuals are prone to abnormal heart rhythms like Atrial Fibrillation. In the case of underlying Heart Disease, frequent and repeated bouts of low blood oxygen – Hypoxia – can cause sudden death from Heart Failure.

How do all these details about Sleep Apnea relate to Gout?

Although Gout is commonly dismissed due to eating high-purine foods and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, there is new research and studies being done. The dramatic increase in reported Gout Attacks has risen considerably in the last 10 years and has brought about a flood of new interest.

Testing of Sleep Apnea and the associated Hypoxia and Hypoxemia has shown that the condition leads to the generation of Uric Acid that is then fed into the blood. As the episodes progress through the night, the accumulation of Uric Acid becomes greater and greater, and becomes more than the kidneys can dispose of. In addition to this accumulation, the body develops a greater state of Acidosis in other ways and other areas as well.

Testing of Gout patients for Sleep Apnea is becoming more well-recognized and is slowly entering the mainstream. It is fast becoming accepted as an explanation of why Gout Attacks seem to develop more often during the sleeping hours.

Sleep Apnea is yet another interesting connection between Gout and Heart Disease, Diabetes, Obesity, Cancer, and many other illnesses and conditions.

Author's Bio: 

For many, gout is a mysterious condition. Sleep apnea and low blood oxygen saturation exacerbate the problem, but watching the purine content of foods and following a low purine diet is an important element of natural gout prevention.

Bert Middleton, The Gout Killer!