Purpose: Sleep apnea (SA)-induced chronic intermittent hypoxia increases oxidative stress and inflammation, which may contribute to the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD). This study evaluated the risk of PD following SA diagnosis. Patients and methods: This was a 3-year nationwide population-based matched cohort study using claims data from the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD), Taiwan. We analyzed 1,944 patients diagnosed as having SA between 1997 and 2005 and a matched cohort of 9,720 non-SA patients from the NHIRD. Patients with a history of PD were excluded. Each patient was followed up for 3 years to evaluate subsequent PD development. Results: Of the 11,664 patients, 17 (0.9%) and 38 (0.4%) from the SA and matched non-SA cohorts, respectively, were subsequently diagnosed as having PD during follow-up. After adjustments for potential confounders, the SA cohort had a 1.85-fold higher risk of PD than the non-SA cohort (95% confidence interval [CI] =1.02–3.35; P=0.042). After age and sex stratification, PD development was independently associated with SA only in men (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 2.26; 95% CI =1.11–4.63; P<0.05) and in patients aged ≥60 years (adjusted HR, 1.93; 95% CI =1.01–3.71; P<0.05). Conclusion: Our study suggests that patients with SA are at an increased longitudinal risk of PD. Furthermore, age and male sex are independently associated with the risk of PD.
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