Sleep Disorders Linked to an Increased Risk of Osteoarthritis

Pavankumar Kamat


May 06, 2021


  • Sleep disorders were significantly associated with an increased risk of osteoarthritis (OA).

  • The association was significant across all sex, age and OA type subgroups, with the exception of patients aged >80 years and those with knee OA.

Why this matters

  • Findings highlight the importance of improving the diagnosis and management of sleep disorders to mitigate their potentially deleterious effects on OA.

Study design

  • This case-control study included patients (age, ≥18 years) with a diagnosis of OA across 256 UK general practices (1997-2016).

  • 175,966 patients with OA were matched (1:1) with participants without OA.

  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • Sleep disorders had a positive and significant association with an increased risk of OA (OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.22-1.29; P<.001).

  • This association was substantiated in all sex and age subgroups, except in patients aged >80 years (OR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.88-1.01; P=.069), ORs decreasing with increasing age.

  • In terms of the type of sleep disorder, the risk of developing OA significantly increased with (OR; 95% CI):

    • non-organic sleep disorders (1.51; 1.44-1.58; P<.001);

    • hypersomnia (1.79; 1.44-2.22; P<.001); and

    • sleep apnoea (3.79; 3.20-4.50; P<.001).

  • The association between sleep disorders and OA was significant in all OA subgroups, except in patients with knee OA (OR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.86-1.10; P=.613).


  • Study did not include all sleep disorders (e.g., unspecified sleep disorder).


Jacob L, Smith L, Konrad M, Kostev K. Association between sleep disorders and osteoarthritis: A case-control study of 351,932 adults in the UK. J Sleep Res. 2021 Apr 28 [Epub ahead of print]:e13367. doi: 10.1111/jsr.13367. PMID: 33913215. View abstract 

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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