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The Link between Sleep Apnea and Diabetes

Anyone who has ever tried to look up a symptom on a self-diagnosis medical website knows that just about anything wrong with you can be attributed to diabetes. It’s actually become something of a joke, but the truth is, this condition is quite serious. The reason so many symptoms are associated with diabetes is that this disease wreaks havoc with your body. Now, new research has discovered that a lack of proper sleep can lead to an increased risk of developing blood sugar problems. Here’s a look at the link between sleep apnea and diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes and Sleep Disorders

Hemoglobin A1c levels are the most important and common marker of blood sugar issues associated with type 2 diabetes. Patients who have sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, which result in non-optimal sleep and rest, are now discovered to have greater difficulty in controlling blood sugar than those who sleep normally, according to recent research into predicting A1c levels.

There are many ways in which sleep apnea affects diabetes control. As your body has difficulty getting oxygen throughout the night, it can enter a stress mode that releases hormones which increase the glucose levels in the bloodstream. In addition, tiredness can result in less drive to exercise, which is an important factor in controlling blood sugar.

Treating Sleep Apnea

The treatment of sleep apnea is considered a primary way in which diabetes control can be improved. Some estimates are that as many as 60 percent of diabetes sufferers may have some type of sleep disorder. Treating these disorders can help diabetes patients in many ways, including improved alertness and drive, reducing insulin resistance and stabilizing overall long-term blood glucose levels. Such treatments are viewed as an important tool in the treatment of diabetic symptoms and causes.

Diagnosing OSA

Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, can be diagnosed at an overnight sleep study, where a technician uses specialized sensors to monitor your breathing, heart rate, air flow and oxygen levels while you sleep. They will also monitor how long you sleep and the number of times your cycle is interrupted. These results are then evaluated by a doctor to determine how serious (if any) a problem you have with your sleep.

Treating OSA and Diabetes

If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are several means of treatment. These include weight loss and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. Weight loss is vital in controlling both sleep apnea and diabetes, with a recent study determining that over 85 percent of more than 300 obese people with diabetes were observed to also have OSA. Those patients who lost more than 22 pounds saw significant improvements in their OSA and diabetes symptoms.

For those just starting their weight loss regimen or for whom significant improvements are not seen as a result of weight loss, a CPAP machine can provide relief. By wearing an air mask while you sleep, air flow is improved and sleep thus improved.

Are you in the Atlanta area and think you may have sleep apnea? If so, we may be able to help. Take some time to look over our website, and then get in touch with us to schedule an appointment today.

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