Obstructive Sleep Apnea Linked To Type 2 Diabetes

Two recent studies have now been published showing that Obstructive Sleep Apnea increases the sufferer’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes. But what does a sleep disorder have to do with diabetes?

For anyone who is not familiar with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, it is a disorder which a person’s upper airway is obstructed during sleep. This can be due to many different reasons but the most common reason for Obstructive Sleep Apnea is obesity. The upper airway is obstructed or closes during sleep which causes the person to wake up hundreds of times during the night. They only wake up enough to start breathing again but this sleep pattern leaves the person unrested every day.

So it must be the obesity that links sleep apnea to type 2 diabetes, right? Wrong. Researchers have now found that when a patient’s airway is obstructed their body triggers it’s fight or flight response. This response produces high levels of cortisol. Cortisol at high levels leads to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance.

The study performed at Yale School of Medicine found that people diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea were up to 2.5 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The study also showed that the more severe the sleep apnea the greater the risk was for developing diabetes.

Some of the symptoms of Sleep Apnea include loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. It is very, very important that anyone with either of these symptoms consult their physician. Their are non surgical treatments available for sleep apnea. One such treatment involves wearing a mask over the nose while sleeping which forces air into the airway while sleeping. This treatment is known as CPAP – continuous positive airway pressure.

Lately there has been a lot of focus on America’s diabetes epidemic. It is fascinating to me to find out just how many factors can go into someone developing diabetes. The more research that is done on this disease the better off we all will be in preventing diabetes and also battling diabetes.

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