Sleep Apnea and Diabetes

Sleep apnea and diabetes are two unfortunate diseases for which there is no cure. Both medical issues, however, can be controlled and treated. There is no concrete evidence that proves that sleep apnea and diabetes are directly related, but there is a lot of evidence to support the idea that the two are linked. As more medical research is conducted, the links are becoming closer and more obvious.

The connection between Sleep Apnea and Diabetes is real and scary. Studies published in the European Respiratory Journal and Journal of Internal Medicine tell us that up to 40% of people with Sleep Apnea will have Diabetes. Other studies show that up to 50% of those with type 2 Diabetes have Sleep Apnea. Essentially, Sleep Apnea causes intermittent shortages of oxygen in the body and fragmentation of sleep, which in turn causes physiologic stress which then wreaks havok on glucose metabolism and the development of insulin resistance.

For a while, most observations about sleep apnea and diabetes were that they often occurred simultaneously in those who were already obese, a condition common to both sleep apnea and diabetes.  However, further investigation of the two has found that there is likely a direct relationship between them.

It has been proven that people suffering from both sleep apnea and diabetes are more resistant to insulin treatment if the sleep apnea is untreated. Many times by treating sleep apnea and providing the patient with restful sleep the need for insulin supplementation decreases. Insulin resistance decreases. According to studies cited by ResMed, "Insulin responsiveness increased 28% in patients with type 2 diabetes after 4 months of CPAP/BiPap therapy." It is critical to talk to your physician about any sleep problems.

CPAP, also spelled Ci-PAP or C-PAP, is highly effective remedy for obstructive sleep apnea and diabetes. Not only can it be used with other treatments, the pressure levels adjust more flexibly to the individual's breathing patterns, creating more comfort. In addition, it has been found to improve blood sugar levels and reduce the complications from diabetes, such as kidney and heart disease.

Many people also have physical problems that awaken them from sleep, including sleep apnea and diabetes. (Diabetics often make several trips to the bathroom during the night.) Sleep apnea, often seen in overweight and obese people, is a condition of waking up repeatedly throughout the night. Often the person doesn’t realize that he’s waking during the night, but he’ll feel tired in the morning. Significant snoring usually accompanies this condition. So if you’re tired and gaining weight, it’s important to see your doctor to make sure you don’t medical problems.

People who suffer from sleep apnea and diabetes should consult with doctors to determine which machine is more suitable for them. CPAP may be preferable for mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea, especially for those also suffering from diabetes. However, more severe case of sleep apnea may benefit more from using the BiPAP machine. The only way to know for sure is to meet with physician who can professionally designate a treatment.