Sleep Apnea and Diabetes:
The cause of sleep apnea and how it links to Type 2 diabetes has a lot to do with weight. Patients with Type 2 diabetes may be obese, insulin resistant, and have large amounts of visceral fat (the fat deep inside the body that surrounds the organs). The extra weight causes the tissues in your neck and throat to fall into your airway, resulting in a blockage.
Sleep apnea can also increase blood sugar levels because of the stress associated with chronic sleep deprivation and abrupt awakenings in the night. When you get stressed, your body releases stress hormones that release stored glucose. Over time, this increase in blood sugar levels can contribute to insulin resistance. Sleep apnea can also increase blood sugar levels because of the stress associated with chronic sleep deprivation and abrupt awakenings in the night.
- 72% of type 2 diabetics also have obstructive sleep apnea.
- Studies show early-morning increase in blood sugar in people who have Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea could be reduced by up to 45% as a result of OSA treatment.
- Sleep duration and quality have emerged as predictors of levels of Hemoglobin A1c, an important marker of blood sugar control.
- Treating sleep apnea reduces insulin resistance, improves alertness and motivation, and leads to more stable blood glucose levels.
- Untreated sleep apnea is associated with increases in glucose and poor quality of life stemming from chronic fatigue.
If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s important to watch for symptoms of sleep apnea and get it properly diagnosed and treated. Once you do, you’ll likely see an improvement in your blood sugar levels and sleep quality. Plus, if you have type 2 diabetes, it will be easier for you to control it if you start removing the stress hormones that are caused by these frequent interruptions of sleep.