Diabetes, Obesity, Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Risk


It is well known that many people with type 2 diabetes (anywhere from 30-50%) suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but there is also a potential cardiovascular and other health risks associated with the disorder. Being overweight or obese increases the likelihood of OSA.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your upper airway temporarily collapses while you sleep and you stop breathing (apnea) for as much as ten seconds or more.  When your brain becomes alerted to the lowered oxygen level, the body kicks in breathing again.

The strain of these repeated episodes of apnea, which can occur a hundred times per night, reduces your oxygen levels, increasing blood pressure and daytime fatigue. Insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome are often found in OSA patients, but the relative role played by OSA and obesity is still unclear.

Many physicians are now screening people with type 2 diabetes for sleep apnea. Healthy weight loss, medical treatments for obesity, nighttime pressured air therapy, and even surgery are treatments.

Quick Facts:

  • 50% of people with congestive heart failure have OSA
  • a person with OSA is seven times more likely to have a stroke than a person without OSA.
  • A person with OSA is seven times more likely to have a car accident.

3 responses to “Diabetes, Obesity, Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Risk”

  1. Frank says:

    Also remember water is important! sharing the info.

  2. It’s important to note that even young thin women who don’t snore can have obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep-breathing problems causes a physiologic stress response that elevates your cortisol levels which mobilize glucose into your bloodstream.

    Steven Y. Park, MD

  3. Rosie says:

    A very well written and informative article. Thank you

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