January 24, 2020
Millions of individuals suffer from diabetes. Many factors can contribute to the onset of diabetes, including genetics, diet, exercise habits, and more. However, an often-overlooked aspect of diabetes is how the quality and quantity of a person’s sleep can affect their condition. Let’s take a moment to consider the connection between diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Does Sleep Apnea Cause Diabetes?
Many research studies suggest a strong correlation between the two conditions. In fact, according to one physician, “if you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have sleep apnea; and if you have sleep apnea you’re more likely to have diabetes… Incidence of OSA in patients with diabetes is higher than the general population regardless of BMI. Prevalence of OSA is 71% in patients with type 2 diabetes. This is significantly greater than the general population at 4-10%.”
Does the above information mean that diabetes is a sleep apnea effect in Boca Raton or vice versa? It’s impossible to say for sure. The two conditions do have some common risk factors, including obesity. However, there is evidence to suggest that OSA can make diabetes worse. It might even contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes.
How OSA Affects Diabetes
Obstructive sleep apnea leads to a condition known as hypoxia, which is when blood oxygen levels dip below their normal level. It also leads to sleep fragmentation (frequent sleep interruptions). Both hypoxia and sleep fragmentation have been shown to be connected to insulin resistance, which can increase blood glucose levels and eventually lead to diabetes.
Another way in which OSA might affect diabetes is via its effect on appetite. When an individual does not get enough high-quality sleep, they typically have more of the hormone that causes hunger and less of the hormone that signals fullness. Exhaustion can also cause people to overindulge in foods that are high in sugar and other simple carbohydrates.
What You Can Do
Many individuals with type 2 diabetes also have undiagnosed OSA. Therefore, if you are diabetic and you are experiencing any symptoms of OSA, such as loud snoring, it is in your best interests to talk to your doctor about undergoing a sleep study. A sleep study will reveal whether you have OSA, and then you can begin to consider your treatment options. An oral sleep appliance has proven to be a comfortable and effective way to relieve OSA for countless patients.
After you begin therapy for OSA, you might notice that your diabetes is easier to control. You may also have more energy to do things that are good for you, such as exercising and preparing healthy meals.
There is a strong link between OSA and diabetes. Improving the quality of your sleep could do much o improve your overall health.
About the Author
Dr. Kenneth Mogell is an experienced sleep dentist in Boca Raton who specializes in providing custom oral appliances for the treatment of OSA. He is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. To learn more about Dr. Mogell and his services, contact our practice at 561-394-9000.
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