It is estimated that over 18 million Americans suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The CDC identified our nation’s issues with lack of sleep as a public health epidemic in a 2014 article, Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Epidemic. There are numerous conditions linked to OSA including hypertension, family history, GERD, weight gain and the list goes on. This month we will be exploring the link between Diabetes and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Doctors have speculated about a connection between diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea for years but until fairly recently the studies had not been done to prove or disprove the connection, and more importantly the science to explain why it was happening. A few small studies were conducted early on which led the largest study yet finding the most conclusive evidence yet. Two of these articles are below, both concluding that healthcare professionals consider OSA during treatment of diabetes if symptoms merit. As always we recommend you visit your healthcare professional with any questions or concerns.
According to the International Diabetes Foundation article, Sleep Apnea and Type 2 Diabetes, studies have shown that an estimated 40% of those who suffer with OSA are also afflicted with Diabetes and that 23% of people with Diabetes also have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. The same study suggested that OSA may affect the ability to control glycemic levels.
In a presentation on June 17, 2015 at a gathering for the American Diabetes Association findings were presented linking Type 1 Diabetes with Obstructive Sleep Apnea as well. This, the biggest study of its kind to date, was also different as the subjects who participated were not overweight; obesity is a risk factor for OSA. According to the article titled, Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Type 1 Diabetes, the study found that the longer the diabetes had been present the higher risk of OSA.
If you or a loved one have Diabetes, they may be at risk for Sleep Apnea as well. It is important that you talk to your healthcare provider about your risks, and if you should be subjected to a sleep test to see if you have OSA.