A new study reveals that sleep apnea can be dangerous to people with Type 2 diabetes.
Sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, has long been linked to obesity. But a new study published in the Diabetes Journal reveals that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can also worsen blood sugar control, especially in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Author Dr. Babak Mokhlesi, the Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Chicago, said that sleep apnea is associated with poor glycemic control.
Dr. Mokhlesi gathered 115 participants for the study and subjected them to polysomnography, a test used in sleep studies. He found out that those with sleep apnea had increased levels of HbA1c or blood sugar, particularly during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep.
"In type 2 diabetes, OSA during REM sleep may influence long-term glycemic control," writes Dr. Mokhlesi.
To address the health concern, people suffering from sleep apnea are advised to use CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, for at least 7 hours during sleep. Many sleep apnea patients remove their CPAP masks at night because it can be uncomfortable. Since REM occurs early in the morning, removing the CPAP mask will leave the apnea untreated.
"The metabolic benefits of CPAP therapy may not be achieved with the typical adherence of four hours per night. Seven hours of CPAP use would cover more than 85% of REM sleep and would be associated with a decrease in HbA1c by as much as 1%," Dr. Mokhlesi added.