Mechanisms of disease: The endocrinology of obstructive sleep apnoea

in European Journal of Endocrinology
Correspondence: Abd Tahrani, Email:
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Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a common disorder that is associated with serious co-morbidities with a negative impact on quality of life, life expectancy and health costs. As OSA is related to obesity and is associated with sleep disruption, increased inflammation and oxidative stress, it is not surprising that OSA has an impact on the secretion of multiple hormones and is implicated in the development of many endocrine conditions. On the other hand, many endocrine conditions that can affect obesity and/or upper airways anatomy and stability have been implicated in the development or worsening of OSA. This bi-directional relationship between OSA and the endocrine system has been increasingly recognised in experimental and epidemiological studies and there are an increasing number of studies examining the effects of OSA treatment on endocrine conditions and vice-versa. In this review article, we will critically appraise and describe the impact of OSA on the endocrine system including obesity, dysglycaemia, the pituitary, the thyroid, the adrenals, the reproductive system and the bones. In each section, we will assess whether a bi-directional relationship exists, and we will describe the potential underlying mechanisms. We have focused more on recent studies and randomised controlled trials where available and attempted to provide the information within clinical context and relevance.


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European Society of Endocrinology

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