Osteoarthritis (OA) and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are two highly prevalent chronic diseases for which effective therapies are urgently needed. Recent epidemiologic studies, although scarce, suggest that the concomitant occurrence of OA and OSA is associated with more severe manifestations of both diseases. Moreover, OA and OSA share risk factors, such as aging and metabolic disturbances, and co-morbidities, including cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, sleep deprivation and depression. Whether this coincidental occurrence is fortuitous or involves cause-effect relationships is unknown. This review aims at collating and integrating present knowledge on both diseases by providing a brief overview of their epidemiology and pathophysiology, analyzing current evidences relating OA and OSA and discussing potential common mechanisms by which they can aggravate each other. Such mechanisms constitute potential therapeutic targets whose pharmacological modulation may provide more efficient ways of reducing the consequences of OA and OSA and, thus, lessen the huge individual and social burden that they impose.
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