Diabetes: Sleep Apnea Affects Over a Third of Adults with Type 2 Diabetes

By Laura Brooks on 10/01/2007
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If you have type 2 diabetes, take those daytime yawns seriously.  According to a study posted by Diabetes News, you may be among the 36 percent of diabetics who have a condition known as sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when collapsed airways impair your breathing during the night, causing multiple awakenings.

In the first study to analyze data from both men and women at a diabetes clinic, researchers at The Whittier Institute for Diabetes in La Jolla, CA, analyzed health data from 279 adults with type 2 diabetes.

"They found that one out of three diabetics also suffered from obstructive sleep apnea. Men, particularly those over the age of 62, were more than twice as likely as women to experience interrupted sleep." (Diabetes News)

Because a connection between sleep apnea, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance has already been established in previous research, the Whittier study confirms what would only seem to be a logical relationship with type 2 diabetes as well.

"These findings demonstrate that obstructive sleep apnea has a high prevalence in adults with type 2 diabetes," principal investigator Dr. Daniel Einhorn said in a prepared statement. "Given that treatment of obstructive sleep apnea has the potential to both decrease blood pressure and improve glycemic (blood sugar) control, individuals with type 2 diabetes should be regularly screened for the presence of sleep apnea," he said.

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Treating diabetics with "continuous positive airway pressure" therapy reduces blood sugar as well as the number of sleep interruptions.interrupted sleep. The researchers, who published their findings in the August issue of Endocrine Practice, recommend that patients with type 2 diabetes be screened for obstructive sleep apnea. 

Laura Brooks

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