Lack of sleepSleep apnea may be an unrecognised cause of some cases of osteoporosis, according to research.

The daily rhythm of bone turnover is important for normal bone health, while sleep apnea’s effects on sleep duration and quality, oxygen levels, inflammation, and other aspects of health may have a variety of impacts on bone metabolism.

Researchers in a Journal of Bone and Mineral Research review said it’s important to determine the relationship between these two increasingly common diseases and to understand the biological processes that may connect them.

“There are strong indications that daily rhythms are an intrinsic and important element of bone biology,” said senior author Dr. Eric Orwoll. “If sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea affect bone metabolism, they may have diagnostic and therapeutic implications for many patients, including those affected by sleep apnea in their early, bone modeling years,” added lead author Dr. Christine Swanson.