Sleep Apnea’s Connection With Type 2 Diabetes

Sleep apnea may worsen diabetes. In a new study published in Diabetes Care, it’s discovered that sleep apnea may compromise a person’s blood sugar level in people who have Type 2 diabetes. Some people who struggle with sleep apnea curb symptoms by wearing a CPAP mask while sleeping. For those wearing the mask, it assures uninterrupted breathing and normalizes the sleeping pattern.

As previously reported, a lot of patients that have sleep apnea go undiagnosed, which is particularly dangerous for patients with diabetes.

For those who aren’t familiar sleep apnea is caused when breathing stops while in a state of sleep. During the pause in breathing, oxygen drops, which raises a risk. For those with Type 2 diabetes this risk is associated with a decline in blood sugar. According to Diabetes Care, patients were analyzed and reported to experience “episodes” during rapid eye movement, which saw an extreme effect on “long-term blood sugar control.”

Rapid eye movement, or REM, happens usually in the early morning hours before a person wakes up. However according to Dr. Babak Mokhlesi, who is the author of the new study that links sleep apnea to diabetes, patients remove their masks during the middle of the night because they aren’t comfortable with the mask.

Lynn Maarouf, who works for the Stark Diabetes Center in the University of Texas Medical Branch, asserts that most diabetes patients that enter her office with out of control blood sugar levels most likely have problems sleeping at night, which might indicate problems linked to sleep apnea. As stated, sleep problems and diabetes has a significant link. In addition diabetes does cause sleep loss and a different study does assert that one could increase the risk of developing diabetes by not sleeping well.

“Any time your blood sugar is really high, your kidneys try to get rid of it by urinating. So you are probably getting up and going to bathroom all night long — and not sleeping well.”

Maarouf continued, attributing the link to sugar intake:

“People who are tired will eat more because they want to get energy from somewhere. That can mean consuming sugar or other foods that can spike blood sugar levels.”

MD director Mark Mahowald, director of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorder seems to agree.

“There is some evidence that sleep deprivation could lead to pre-diabetic state.”

In addition to diabetes, it’s been previously reported that sleep apnea can also lead to PCOS in female patients.

[Image credit: alexskopje / Shutterstock]