The Type 2 Diabetes and Sleep Apnea Connection
It’s prevalent for people with Type 2 diabetes to also have sleep apnea. Patients and Medical Doctors need to understand sleep apnea and why it’s crucial to treat.
For patients with Type 2 diabetes, you must be aware of: sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which people experience stoppages in their breathing. This stoppage of breathing can happen hundreds of times a night. In once research study, people with Type 2 diabetes can have a nearly fifty percent chance of being diagnosed with this apnea.
A major health problem is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can worsen diabetes symptoms and lead to other health problems like heart disease, heart attack, hypertension, heart disease, stroke and atrial fibrillation to name a few.
Untreated obstructive sleep apnea is associated with increases in glucose and poor quality of life stemming from chronic fatigue.
Sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes often coexist because of shared risk factors like obesity. The more severe the untreated sleep apnea in a person with Type 2 diabetes, the worse their levels of glucose control.
Sleep Apnea: It’s More Than Just Snoring
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that’s characterized by pauses in breathing. Literally, sleep apena patients stop breathing during sleep. The body is chronically sleep deprived so the body trades low oxygen levels for sleep. Then the brain sends signals to the body to arouse just enough to open the airway. The reason for the oxygen blockage is the tissue in the neck and tongue occlude the airway.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), Common symptoms include loud snoring, which occurs as the air squeezes past the obstruction. Other symptoms include:
Type 2 Diabetes and Sleep Apnea
The cause of sleep apnea and how it connects to Type 2 diabetes is mainly due to weight. Patients with Type 2 diabetes are often obese, insulin resistant, and have large amounts of visceral fat. This is the fat found deep inside the body that surrounds the organs. During sleep, the body relaxes and muscle tone is significantly reduced. The extra weight causes the tissues in your neck and throat to fall into your airway. Furthermore, the tongue falls backwards. This results in a blockage of the airway.
Sleep apnea can also raise blood sugar levels because of the stress associated with chronic sleep deprivation and abrupt arousal in the night. When the body is stressed, it releases stress hormones that can do things like release stored glucose into your liver. This increases in blood sugar levels can contribute to insulin resistance.
Do you think you have sleep apnea? Want to get tested for sleep apnea? Call our office to see how dentists can be the quarterback in helping patients defeat sleep apnea.