Diabetes and Sleep Apnea

Diabetes and Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which your breathing stops and restarts while you’re asleep. These pauses can last for anywhere between a few seconds to minutes, and can happen 30 times or more during one hour of sleep.

When your breathing stops, your body snaps out of a deep restful sleep. People with sleep apnea are often tired during the day because they aren’t getting good quality sleep.

There are two different types of sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common. This is when your airways collapse or become blocked while you’re sleeping.

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is less common. This is when your brain doesn’t send the right signals to the muscles that control your breathing.

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Symptoms for both are similar and can include:

1.Loud snoring or snorting after pauses in breathing (associated with OSA)

2.Headaches in the morning

3.Being extremely tired during the day

4.Waking up in the middle of the night with shortness of breath (associated with CSA)

5.Having a sore throat or dry mouth in the morning when you wake up

6.Trouble staying focused

7.Difficulty staying asleep at night




Anyone can get sleep apnea, but you’re more likely to develop the condition if you:

1.Are overweight

2.Have a family history of sleep apnea

3.Have a thick neck or smaller airways

4.Are over 60

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5.Have frequent nasal congestion or allergies

6.Smoke cigarettes, drink excessively, or use sedatives or tranquilizers

Many people don’t know they have sleep apnea until a family member or bed partner complains about them snoring. If you think you have the condition, it’s important to tell your doctor. He or she may recommend a sleep study to diagnose the condition.

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Treatments include wearing a mouthpiece or using a breathing device called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) while you sleep to keep airways open, and in more severe cases, surgery.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can increase your risk for other medical issues such as high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, and poor blood sugar control.

4A.Sleep Apnea and Diabetes Connection

Obstructive sleep apnea is often associated with obesity and diabetes.

One study suggests that 40 percent of people who have OSA also have diabetes, and that up to 58 percent of people who have diabetes have some type of sleep disordered breathing.

While risk factors like obesity, family history, and getting older play a role in both conditions, researchers believe they’re not the only link.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adults: Relationship with Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders (Advances in Cardiology)

OSA has many negative effects on the body. For example, it causes oxygen levels in the blood to drop. Frequent interruptions in deep sleep also affect metabolism and the body’s ability to properly control blood sugar levels.

OSA can also cause insulin resistance and glucose intolerance on its own in people who don’t have diabetes.

It is reported that being treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine helped people who have both type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea have better blood sugar control.

If you have one condition, there is no guarantee you’ll get the other, though you are at increased risk. Getting sleep apnea diagnosed and treated can reduce your risk of developing diabetes and can help treat existing diabetes.

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